any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
A while back, I had lunch with a well-known Christian leader. This man is a dynamic preacher, a brilliant thinker, and a respected statesman for the cause of Christ. As with anyone who takes a strong stand for Jesus, this man is not without his detractors. He has some vocal enemies who publicly vilify and criticize him at every turn.
While I was talking with him over lunch, I asked him how he handled all the vicious criticisms that come his way. His answer shocked me. "Jeff," he said, "I often wonder why the Lord puts me in these situations. seeing that I am one who gets easily discouraged." Wow. I always thought this guy was impervious to the hurtful remarks and comments of people. After his confession, I felt an immediate kinship with him because I also fight the demons of discouragement. Do you?
THE DEVIL'S LETHAL WEAPON
My Associate Pastor, Larry Sims, once shared with me that the devil's favorite and most lethal of weapons is the weapon of discouragement. If he can get you discouraged, he can get steal your joy and excitement about the Christian life and doing the will of God.
Discouragement is the first step down the dark, lonely road of despair. Many a person has thrown in the towel on marriage. on ministry. on career. on dreams. on taking a step of faith. all because of discouragement.
OVERCOMING THE DISCOURAGEMENT
One of the great laws God has built into the world we live in is the law of the harvest: we reap what we sow - "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap" (Gal. 6:7). Now when it comes to personal discouragement, one of the best ways to overcome it is to sow seeds of encouragement in others. As you encourage those around you, God will bring a harvest of encouragement to you.
Hebrews 3:13 instructs us to encourage one another each and every day. I believe if we are not reminded, we forget to do it. We want people to encourage us. yet we so often fail to see that God has called us to be His ambassadors of encouragement to other people.
Who can you encourage today? Your spouse. your parents. your children. your siblings. your boss. your employees. your Sunday school teacher. your neighbors. your friends. your pastor. someone you admire for courage? I remember sending an email to a frontline Christian leader who was getting hammered big time for his stand for Christ. He was so moved by my encouraging words, he called me on the phone to thank me.
Would you commit to the Lord to be an encourager and not a discourager? Would you make it a priority of each day to give the gift of encouragement? Encouragement is simple, rewarding, and free. It blesses God and makes a HUGE difference in the lives of those discouraged.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.