One of the things we all fight from time to time is discouragement. It drains you of joy, it steals your peace, and it empties you of hope.
There is a verse I need to be reminded of from time to time.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I truly believe that giving thanks… intentionally being grateful is the key to overcoming discouragement. So often this feeling of defeat and despair is caused by a lack of perspective. Gratitude opens our eyes to how good and faithful God has been, inspire of our difficult circumstances.
Discouragement is something we all face. Life’s problems can often seem overwhelming. Discouragement left unchecked can lead to overwhelming anxiety, fear, depression, and even abandoning our faith. However, we have at our disposal a tool that defeats discouragement: it is gratitude! Being thankful refocuses our hearts and minds on God’s faithfulness, and leads us to encouragement.
There are three options for dealing with discouragement:
- First, we simply to give in to it. Let it overwhelm you. Let it eat at you as you focus on the negative. Become depressed, negative, and hopeless as the disappointments keep coming. We simply give in to the discouragement.
- Second, we deny the problem. My husband doesn’t have a drinking problem. This sickness really isn’t anything to worry about. My daughter is lonely, but it will pass. In denying our problems we either minimize them or we spiritualize them.
- Third, we face our problems with faith, thanking God in the midst of them.
To stop in the midst of a situation and simply breathe a three-word prayer, “Thank you, Lord,” can change everything.
Listen to this verse again… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Why give thanks in all circumstances? Yes, it is the will of God, but why? Because by rejoicing always, praying continually, and constantly giving thanks it protects our heart and mind. It guards our thought process. It shields us against discouragement.
Remember this truth: We don’t give thanks FOR all things, but IN all things.
The thought isn't "this is God's will, so you must do it." The thought is rather "this is God's will, so you can do it." It isn't easy to rejoice always, pray continually, and in everything give thanks, but we can do it because it is God's will.
Today’s Challenge: Take inventory of your life…have you been living in discouragement. If so, you are not living in God’s will. His will for you is peace. His will for you is encouragement.
- Are you fighting discouragement?
- What would happen in your life if you practiced gratitude? How would it make you feel?
- What does it mean to give thanks "in" all things, not "for" all things?
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