This summer our pastor has been preaching through the story of Moses and it’s been quite interesting to hear the stories that have been told to me again and again as a child in Sunday School, VBS, and Christian elementary school, with a different emphasis.
For example, the sermon this past Sunday was about the first time Moses got angry with God because of the people’s whining about the food, the desert, the wandering, etc. The focus of the message was discouragement, and specifically how in the story Moses easily was discouraged by those around him. Pastor said he believes discouragement is Satan’s No. 1 weapon against believers. I had to really think about that because you don’t necessarily hear about that a lot, but perhaps that’s because of how it works. Discouragement is kinda sneaky like that.
The subject of discouragement doesn’t really relate to me that much I don’t think. I can’t recall the last time I would describe myself as “discouraged,” and according to a spiritual gifts test I took recently I may very well be an encourager. Makes sense that an encourager may not have to deal with discouragement all that often, right? But, I learned a lot about recognizing discouragement in others and then using my abilities to encourage to help get them back on track.
Moses’ path to discouragement is not that different from the modern path: You’re affected by others’ complaining. That initial discouragement leads to feeling overwhelming and focusing on self. Then, you start to blame God. In Numbers 11:14, Moses says “the burden is too heavy for me.” Well, who asked Moses to carry that burden? Let God carry it. Finally, you’re so fed up you want to quit. Moses was so fed up he told God he wanted to die. Sound familiar???
So how do we fight discouragement? First, just because you’re discouraged doesn’t mean that God is. He knows exactly where you are.
Second, talk with God and be honest. Moses was brutally honest about how he really felt.
Reestablish God as your top priority. **This one is sooo important!
Next, come up with a plan. Don’t just continue to gripe. Do something, specifically work with God to make a plan.
Obey God immediately. Don’t delay, hesitate or second-guess.
Get involved helping other people — investing in someone else takes the focus off of self.
And be prepared for the next time discouragement attacks, because it will.