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Battling discouragement

Do you view yourself as a courageous person? I think most of us want to think of ourselves that way, but yet there is so much in this world that can cause us to be discouraged, which is the opposite of courageous. Discouragement can be fueled by gloomy winter weather, woes at work, unhealthy relationships, financial calamity, health concerns, schoolwork, overloaded schedule... When you think about all that can cause discouragement, it seems like courage would be really rare to see and experience.

The truth is that courage can't be conjured up. You can't just "man-up" to the challenges that this life throws at you. We all face fierce battles and steep mountains that will discourage us. So where do we find courage? Our courage is found in Christ! He is our defender, our protector, our Redeemer. He gives us the courage that we need to make it in this world... Biblical courage means "good cheer." It is filled with hope and promise. It yields boldness and confidence, not weakness and insecurity.

What do you do when you face discouragement?... and the truth is, we all do. Take these steps, which we outlined in the sermon this past Sunday morning:

• Get alone with the Lord and pray...

Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

• Ask Him to examine your heart and motives.

Is it pride, greed, or covetousness that is fueling your discouragement?

Is it a sense of entitlement... you don't have what you think you should?

Is it a secret sin that you are struggling to shake?

• Repent of the sin that may be causing your discouragement.

• Refocus on Christ and the courage He provides to conquer your foes.

• Be of "good cheer"... Be courageous!

The psalmist was no stranger to discouragement, and his response was to remember God and trust His promises:

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you. Psalm 42:5-6

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