How to Overcome Discouragement
Overcome is defined by Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as to succeed in dealing with or controlling a problem that has been preventing you from achieving something
Discouragement is defined as a feeling that you no longer have the confidence or enthusiasm to do something. It is also defined as a thing that discourages somebody from doing something.
All of us at a time or another come across discouraging words in the world. we hear discouraging words when we want to do something important in life. Sometimes such words have a grave effect on our lives such that we abandon what we want to do entirely and for some who do not abandon what they want to do, they would not put all their strength into the pursuance of the thing.
What are the Sources of discouragement?
The sources of discouragement I broadly divided into two which are external and internal.
(A) External Sources
By external I mean what or those things that come from outside that have great influence on the decision of the person such as preventing the person from doing or continue to do what is in his mind doing.
1. People: The people that surround us could discourage us by what they are saying to us. These include our spouses, our siblings, our neighbors, co-workers etc.
2. Law: The instituted law sometimes could be a source of discouragement to what we want to do. Take as example the law instituted in a family that none should study Medicine or Paramedical sciences because of the religion of the parents, their ancient belief this could affect the children negatively if such a person has a flair for medicine in future.
One of my siblings loves to be a lawyer, but because of the religious belief of our parents that it is liars who are studying law in schools this prevented the guy from studying his dream course in the university.
Therefore, some laws of an establishment could be a source of discouragement to what we want to do.
3. Ignorance: The bible expressly said through one of God’s prophets that my people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hos 4:6)
Knowledge in Hebrew word is written as “דּעת”, Romanized form is da‛ath (pronounced as dah'-ath) this word takes its root meaning from this Hebrew word ,“ידע” Romanized form is yâda‛(phonetic spelling is yaw-dah') which means understand, have (understanding), comprehend, consider, cunning, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with.
When people lack comprehension about a thing, they would discourage others who wish to do that thing from continuing to do it.
It was commonly believed in my land that those who do sports are those who usually indulge in drugs taken and other vices. Thus, believers in this part of the world see any Christian who wishes to pursue a career in that field as an aberrant one, a backslider and would not support such dream for whatsoever reasons. This was because of their lack of knowledge about sports.
Another example that I can along this line is the use of internet and computers. In my land till now some still believe there is no benefit that one can derive from internet and other social media. They consider it what demons have produced to lure men away from God, to lure men away to sins because their believe is that no one who is genuinely saved could be using it, it is for harlots, it is for fraudsters they used to say and to cap it all they would say it is suggestive of “666”, the mark of the beasts as being shared by Apostle John in his book of Revelation chapter 13.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Rev 13:18)
Now for such people you cannot come to them and tell them that you see someone online that you are dating, it means you have missed it, and you are probably heading for hell-fire because of that.
This quintessentially is based on their ignorance, their lack of knowledge of the developments taken place in the world. Though, they have phones which they are using but they could not marry it because their businesses do not revolve around the internet and if not that they are being forced to go to bank, they do not see reasons why you should go to bank and save money.
4. Racism: It is the view of some that blacks are terrible people because of the histories heard and perhaps for their experiences with some blacks in the past. Thus, when anyone wants to have a dealing with any black person such a one would be discouraged that blacks are bad and shouldn’t be associated with.
But will anyone because he has bad experience with his neighbor for that relocate into the wilderness and be living? I probably do not think a sanely living person would act like that. It is in the same vein apply to all humans, humans are generally humans, there are terrible people living among humans, and this has nothing to do with race, tribe or culture. That is why prophet Jeremiah says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer 13:23)
Those who are evil are sandwiched in between the good people of the world, this essentially happened after the fall of man as could be seen in the killing of Abel by his sibling. God allows this to thrive so that we shall know the difference between good and bad and we should not for that think it is some races that are bad while some are special and good.
Having seen some external sources, shall we see some internal sources.
(B) Internal Sources
These sources have to do with the person, what comes out from within the person that is bringing discouragement to what she or he wants to do.
1. Ignorance: The lack of understanding of the person too would be hovering over his or her thoughts such that it would be discouraging him from making further progress in what she or he wants to embark upon.
2. Deep Sited Wrong Belief: Some people have been so indoctrinated that they find it hard to change their disposition to some things. Even when they are being told that there is no harm there, they would not yield. I have had of a person who died because he refused blood transfusion while given birth. This was because in their church or denomination they do not support blood transfusions for any reason.
It is the belief of some believers (in this part of the world to which this writer hails from) that Christians cannot be rich because they believed all who are making it, those rich people are fetish, they would have done some terrible things before becoming rich, thus they sneer at anyone who calls himself a christian that is rich in the world. What the Lord promises us, they would say is “our daily bread”, and if we can see such daily, we should be contented.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Mat 6:11)
“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Tim 6:8)
This kind of belief would prevent them from working hard, for all they want is their daily meal, nothing more.
Another example that I would give on this is that because of deep sited wrong belief of some people they sneer and reject education. I was once attending a church like that, where we have told that Jesus Christ would come on or before year 2000, thus, why the need to go to school again. Thus, majority of those who ought to pursue their academic ambitions then dropped the ambition and expectantly waiting the coming of Jesus. Alas! Jesus is yet to appear till date neither has the world been destroyed and everything keeps going. Those people live in regrets today.
Why People Discourage us
In this section, I will want us to see some of the reasons why people discourage us from pursuing the dream that we want to pursue.
1. Envy: Some people discourage us because of their envying for what we shall become if we can succeed in what we want to pursue.
2. The Risks involved: We are being discouraged by some because of the risks involved. They sometimes think that the risk is too much and since they cannot take the risks themselves, they would not want us to take the risk ourselves when we divulge our missions to them.
3. Experience: We sometimes are being discouraged by some because of their bitter experience in pursuing something like that before or indeed the same thing. Thus, because they have failed in their mission then, they would not consider us to succeed too.
4. New Innovation/Thing: We are sometimes discouraged if what we are doing no one has ever done that before, thus, people would say, such cannot see the light of the day here. If we can bring our mind to what happened to Zachariah and Elizabeth when their child was to be christened, we shall recall that the priests and others discouraged the woman from continuing to tell them that their son should be named John, because according to them no one in their lineage, past and present bears such name.
“And they said unto her, there is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.” (Luk 1:61)
There was a musician in this part of the world that I hail from who wants to take music as a career, but his mother went against him pursuing the dream because it involves a lot of fetish works and she believed her son would be killed in no time. The son however, because of the suffering that her family has been experiencing says, it is even better he dies than not pursuing this. Eventually he makes a landslide breakthrough in that.
New things usually attract severe criticisms, words of discouragement such that it takes a man of focus to continue in that line if he would succeed there.
Effects of Discouragement
We shall briefly look at some of the negative consequences of discouragement to have a view of why we need to overcome words of discouragement if indeed we want to follow Christ and make landslide victory as a disciple of Christ in our generation.
1. Backing Out: When we receive words of discouragement or when the thoughts of discouragement overwhelmed us, what would follow is we suspending what we are pursuing.
2. Weakens us: Words or thoughts of discouragement weakens us such that if we have 100% vitality to pursue what we aim at pursuing before, it would be reduced and if that continues to dwell in our lives it would be extinguished altogether.
3. Losing Opportunities: Discouragement makes us to lose opportunities. What we sometimes would have gotten on a platter of gold, gotten easily without stress would elude us or gotten with much stress in case we eventually desire to pursue it in future.
4. Inability to Break New Grounds: The purpose of God for us to break new grounds would not be fulfilled because we shall not be able to do that when we have been discouraged to pursue that dream.
5. Die a Mediocre: This makes us die a mediocre, some for the words of discouragements have died through depression because they would continue to imagine that it would have been them assuming they did not yield to discouraging words.
Why We Need to Overcome Discouragement
We need to overcome discouragement because of the reasons above and some of the reasons mentioned beneath.
1. Future: You must consider the future than the present, when you remember that the future is vast than the present then you will be willing to overcome discouragement which ever guise it may have taken to attack you.
2. Joy There: You must consider the joy there above the fear that is being presented before you. Nothing in the world is completely without risks.
Jesus allowed the Joy of saving mankind to overwhelm him more than the discouraging visions and revelations of what he shall suffer in the world if he comes to the world to save mankind from their sins and the pangs of the enemies. For assuming he considers those discouraging things further, it is certain that he would not dare to come to the world to save mankind from our sins.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
“And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” (Rev 5:1-3)
The contents of the book were the suffering and other things that anyone who comes to the world would pass through in their attempt of saving mankind. These others see and they dare not come to the world to save us except Jesus Christ. He ignored the discouragements to come.
How to Overcome Discouragements
In this section I will want us to examine a character in the bible for explanation of the how to overcome discouragements in our lives. The person we shall be examining is Jonathan the son of the first king over Israel, King Saul as could be found in the book of first Samuel 14: 6-9.
There are couple of people bearing Jonathan in the land of Israel. A levite (Jdg 18:30); Eldest son of King Saul (1 Sa 14:49); Uncle of King David (1 Chr 27:32); Son of the High Priest Abiathar (2 Sam 15:36; 17:15-22); A son of David’s brother Shimei (2 Sa 21:21-22); One of David’s mighty men, son of Shagee or, rather, Shammah the Hararite (1 Chr 11:34; 2 Sa 23:11); Official under David (1 Chr 27:25); A son of Kareah (Jer 40:8); A scribe (Jer 37:15, 20); A son of Jada (2 Chr 2:32); A descendant of Adin (Ezr 8:6); An opponent of Ezra’s proposal (Ezr 10:15); A Levite of Asaph lineage (Neh 12:35); A Priest (Neh 12:14); A High Priest (Neh 12:11); Youngest son of the priest Mattathias ((I Macc. 2:5) His brother Judas Maccabeus was slain in battle in 160 BC, Jonathan was chosen as his successor I Macc. 9:23-31)) and a general who at the command of Simon Maccabeus, took possession of Joppa. He was a son of Absalom (I Macc. 13:11) (From The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)
The Jonathan that I want to talk about here is Jonathan who was the eldest son of King Saul and who would later become the intimate friend of David.
Jonathan in Hebrew is written as “יהונתן” Romanized form is yehônâthân, pronounced as yeh-ho-naw-thawn'. It means Jehovah has given.
To overcome discouragement, one needs to be bold. Bold is being defined as brave and confidence; not afraid to say what you feel or to take risks.
“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” (1 Sa 14:6)
The Philistines have cornered the Israelis and what happened between the prophet and the king in the previous chapter was not palatable, thus everyone, all the soldiers were afraid to make advancement into the camp of the enemies. They had been in this position for a while such that they were running out of the essentials.
They were in this dilemma when Jonathan called his armor bearer that they should make advancements into their camp for with God, it does not matter whether we are many or few when he wants to save his own. He perhaps recalls the history of Gideon in making this proclamation and advancement.
2. Divine Impulse
e-sword in her commentary of verse 6 of first Samuel 14 says, the action taken by Jonathan's was completely contrary to the laws of war; no military operation should be commenced without the knowledge and command of the general. But it is highly probable, that this gallant man was led to undertake the hazardous enterprise by an immediate divine impulse; and by the same influence was kept from informing the soldiers, and even from consulting his father, who might have opposed his design.
We need the spirit of God which Jesus has promised all his believers to silence and overcome all oppositions to our spiritually inclined pursuits.
And when we are children of God, the bible says we would be led by the spirit of God, by that spirt we can be instructed to be silent, not informing others of our endeavors until we succeed for then, the success would announce itself for them to see.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom 8:14)
It means belief in our own ability to do things and be successful or feeling certain and it could also mean belief in others. We shall see that this man believed in his armor bearer, while he did not disclose his mission to anyone, he disclosed it to his armor bearer.
4. Readiness to Lay One’s Life for Others
We shall see in this passage that Jonathan was willing to lay his life for others. Anyone who would overcome the opposition must damn the consequences and be willing to even die for the cause chosen.
“And his armourbearer said unto him, do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.” (1 Sa 14:7)
That was what apostle Paul said, not only to be beaten but also to die.
“Then Paul answered, what mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 21:13)
5. Sometimes Hide Your Decision or Steps
It is imperative that sometimes anyone who would overcome discouragements would hide what he wants to do from some people whom he knows would water down the ambition in his heart. Jonathan did not tell his father what he wants to do here, for if he had told him, he would have discouraged him from taken the step.
6. Focus on God
He puts his focus on Yahweh for what he wants to do, that was why he said God could save with few people.
7. You Must Know Your God
When we do not know the God we have, then we would back out the words and thoughts of discouragements would overcome and silence us. But when we know the God we serve, we cannot be silenced. Jonathan did not look at what transpired between prophet Samuel and his father in taken his decision because he knows the God he has and serves.
God also has said through Prophet Ezekiel that he would not visit the iniquities or misdeeds of parents on their children again, everyone who sins shall die.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Eze 18:20)
Many believers are not making appreciable impacts in their chosen fields
because of words of discouragements that they have heard over the years, but this ought not to be so because our God has promised to bless the works of our hands. He is the same God who sends rain and sun to all humans on earth, thus, if those who do not know Christ can make it, we can also make it in the world without compromising our faiths neither standards
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