If I’m being completely honest, there are times I feel like throwing in the towel. For attempting to deliver at a high level on the various commitments involving career, family, community and other demands can leave many of us wanting to run in the other direction at times. However, these moments are when we need to pause and resist the temptations of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and insecure. One of the most strategic ways we can do this is reminding ourselves to some simple Biblical truths about life. We will all face challenges, but as Christians, we also possess victory. So, like an obstacle course race, we can expect challenges to come, but with focus and perseverance, we can also look forward to overcoming and finishing well:
Discouragement: One of the most powerful weapons forged against us is that of discouragement. For when we get discouraged, it can quickly downward spiral into despair and from despair into defeat. However, by catching discouragement on the front end, we can better guard against it from taking a foothold in our life. Some of the most potent ways to do this is to begin encouraging others, exercising our spiritual gifts, praising God for His blessings and worshipping Him for the victory He has given us. What all of these strategies share in common is they get the focus off us and our problems and onto others and the promises of God – like the one that assures “no weapon forged against us shall prevail” (Isaiah 54:17).
Despair: When discouragement locks in, we can quickly begin feeling depressed and a sense of despair. This is an emotion we all struggle with occasionally and for some it is a very serious issue. Yet, for all of us, the Bible offers hope and help. Some of the things we can guard against include, worrying too much about what others think, dreading things we have no control over and/or relying on others and ourselves more than we do God. However, when God is our first priority and we seek to obey and give Him our best in all we are involved in and called to, we can safely trust and leave all the outcomes to Him (Matthew 6:33-34).
Defeat: Eventually, we can begin feeling a sense of defeat if discouragement and despair is allowed to bombard our hearts and minds. This leads to what so many sadly face – hopelessness. When we have a sense that all is lost, we are in very dangerous territory and right where the enemy wants us. For if Christians can be chained into hopelessness, we become strangled by distraction and our Kingdom impact dwindles. However, this is never a condition a Christian has to remain in. For we receive hope when we receive Christ through faith, that we don’t have to live imprisoned by defeat. Instead, we inherit His victory and love that leads us to an abundant life (John 10:10). Or, as Oswald Chambers once said, “God does not give us an overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome”.
Application: “Through Christ” – Philippians 4:13
Clearly, trying to battle discouragement, despair and defeat in our own strength is a very temporary solution. Yet, God promises we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us – and although all our problems and challenges may not disappear, we do receive the endurance and perseverance to stay in the race, finish well and not throw in the towel, even when we may feel like. For that’s when we discover His power carries us.