Conscientious Christians who want to grow in the faith and in service to Jesus can often become discouraged.
Sometimes we become discouraged by slow progress.
We know that Jesus changes lives, and we want to see more of that change within our own life. Waiting for that change can be painful because we know that we carry the name of Jesus and we do not want to bring any dishonor to His name. We know the high price He paid for us, so sins large and small weigh heavily on our conscience.
When we begin to feel down and discouraged because our progress in Christ is not as fast as we’d like it to be, it might help if we ask ourselves this question: where would I be without Jesus?
Thinking about what Jesus has already done can bring us into a mindset of thankfulness and patience with ourselves. Even the slightest change in the right direction can have a huge impact, so sometimes it is better to focus on how far we have come instead of how far we have left to go.
Another thing we can do is focus on one small thing that we have the power to overcome through Him. Very often the bigger challenges we face are made up of smaller, more manageable steps. So, pray about what your next steps are and keep going.
Sometimes we feel discouraged by our past.
We know that Jesus forgives us, but we can have a difficult time forgiving ourselves or forgiving others. Sometimes the matters we stumble over result from repressed emotions or thoughts that we never dealt with.
Though we are forgiven, and it is good to move forward, sometimes we must allow ourselves to feel first—and feel it all.
Sometimes we must remember our past and accept it, feel the pain it caused, and ride those waves of emotion so that we can heal. Sometimes we make amends and sometimes we talk to people who hurt us, and sometimes we move away from destructive people and focus on our future in Christ.
There could be many reasons why a person would struggle with unforgiveness of self and others, but if we take this matter to Jesus, He will help us get through it.
Sometimes we feel discouraged by others.
Sometimes our desire to live for Jesus threatens others, and they do not want to see us improve. There could be many reasons for this.
Sometimes people are envious of the work Jesus does in our lives, and sometimes they don’t like how our faith and growth convicts them of their own sin.
Sometimes this leads to accusations of being self-righteous or arrogant. Sometimes this motivates a person to look at our lives for any sign that God is not really with us. Sometimes this motivates a person to look for any fault in our character or in our lives, so that they can gossip or otherwise feel better about themselves.
Sometimes our faith challenges the faith or the Christian worldview of another, and this leads to a visceral response of fear, triggering the need to fight or ignore. In some instances, hostility or slander results.
Some people can become very destructive and even dangerous to us when we follow Jesus. As Jesus said, “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
In dealing with others, we trust in Jesus. He will help us to grow in wisdom, gentleness, and kindness towards all—especially towards those of the faith—so that we might encourage others, even those who want to see us fail. If encouragement is not possible, then we trust in Jesus to keep us until our service is done, and we trust that He will avenge us if necessary.
Are you feeling discouraged?
There are many reasons Christians feel discouraged. We can feel discouraged by the sin in this world or the state of our nation. We can feel discouraged by a seemingly impossible life circumstance. We can feel discouraged in service, thinking that we do not have what it takes to complete the task Jesus placed in our hands. We can feel discouraged by a temptation that will not go away, even though we know that “His grace is sufficient.”
Whatever the matter is, go to Jesus with it. Talk to a safe brother or sister and pray together. We know that He who is in us is stronger than any obstacle we face, and we know that even the most difficult of journeys is lived one step at a time. So,
In all things, keep moving forward and trust in Jesus. ❤
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