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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

My Blow-By-Blow Battle With Discouragement

Wrestlers from Microsoft Publisher ClipartMy Battle

It’s 1:47 Sunday afternoon.

We had a good Sunday at Mercy Hill.  Rich worship.  Powerful celebration of Communion.  Wonderful testimonies of how God is working.  A powerful passage to preach.

But truth is, I’m feeling discouraged.  Really discouraged.

I’m committed to being as honest as I can be on this blog.  So I thought I’d describe my fight of faith — hoping that my battle might encourage others.

Will I Battle?

That’s the first question.  I don’t have to battle.  I could just watch TV.  Or complain.  Or wallow in self-pity.

But I can tell, my discouragement is unbelief.  All I’m seeing is my problems — not Jesus.  I’m not trusting all God promises to be to me in Christ Jesus.

So what I’m dealing with is sin.  And sin is my sworn enemy.  Which means I must fight.  So here goes —

Where To Start

I’m going to list what’s discouraging me, without sharing too many details —

  1. Someone is going through a painful crisis.
  2. Something made me doubt my effectiveness as a pastor.
  3. Someone did something earlier this week which made me angry.
  4. Someone made a poor decision which will bring them sorrow.
  5. Something else didn’t happen which troubles me.
  6. Something else happened which disappointed me.
  7. A conversation frustrated me.

I know.  That’s pretty vague.  But it’s all I can appropriately share.

And yet listing these is helpful.  Because now instead of just feeling vague discouragement, I am seeing specific causes of my discouragement.  So now I can fight the fight of faith over each one.

Fighting The Fight Of Faith

The fact that I am discouraged shows that my faith is weak.

But I preached this morning on how Jesus is the founder and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Which means faith comes from Him, and is strengthened by Him.

So when my faith is weak, I can turn to Him.  I can ask Him to strengthen my faith (Mark 9:24).  I can pray over Scriptures which He promises will give me faith (Romans 10:17).  When I do that, He will give me all the faith I need.

So I’m turning to Him right now.  This feels a little strange, but I’m going to write down what I pray —

Jesus, I’m feeling deeply discouraged.  Please, forgive me for my unbelief.  Forgive me for letting problems blind me to who You are.  Thank you that because of the Cross I can confess sin and be fully assured of forgiveness.

As I prayed that, something happened.  I’m not feeling any different.  But I’m seeing things differently.  I’m seeing that no matter what problems I have, since Jesus Christ is infinitely merciful and powerful I have no reason to be discouraged.

I’m seeing that, but I’m not feeling it.  So I’m going to keep praying —

Please pour Your Spirit upon me now.  Enlighten the eyes of my heart so I can see You more clearly (Ephesians 1:17).  Use Your Word to strengthen my faith (Romans 10:17).  Guide me to the promises I need to hear.

Praying Over Promises

Now I’m going to find a promise for each discouragement I listed above, and pray over those promises until the Spirit strengthens my faith so I can see and trust Jesus.

1. Someone is in the midst of a painful crisis.

I’m thinking of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 — momentary light afflictions will bring us an eternal weight of glory, because they us look to the unseen, eternal God.

“Father, thank you that You have planned this crisis to bring this person even more joy in Your glory.  Comfort them as they go through it.  Help them look to you in faith.  And as they do, give them a taste of Your glory, and give them hope that more is coming.  Help them trust Your loving control in this situation.  And please, Father, turn this crisis around for them.”

Praying this promise is changing my heart.  I’m still deeply concerned.  But honestly, I don’t feel discouraged any more.  I know God is in control and that He is going to bring this person even more of His glory through this.  And I’ve prayed that He would deliver this person from their problem, so I can trust He will do whatever will bring them more of Him.

One down, six to go.

 2. Something made me doubt my effectiveness as a pastor.

I’m remembering 1 Chronicles 28:20, where David says to Solomon — be strong and courageous; do not be afraid; for the Lord God will not leave your or forsake you until all your work is finished.

Father, you have called me to be a pastor.  Thank you that you will help me grow in areas I’m weak, you will enable me to fulfill my calling, and you will even accomplish your work through my weakness.  I trust that You will be with me, helping me, until all my work is finished.”

This helps.  Instead of just seeing my weaknesses, I’m seeing God.  God called me, God equipped me, God will enable me to work hard, and God can use me with my weaknesses to accomplish His work.  I’m feeling fresh hope.

Two down, five to go.

3. Someone did something earlier this week which made me angry.

I’m going to pray what Joseph said to his brothers, after they sold him into slavery for decades — “what you meant for evil, God meant for good” (Genesis 50:20).

“Father, what this person did makes me angry.  All I’m seeing is the harm this will bring.  But at the same time, You meant this for good.  Help me know how I should respond.  But thank You that You are in complete control, and that great good is coming.”

Instead of seeing just what this person did, Genesis 50:20 is helping me see God and His purposes.  That makes a huge difference.  This verse helps me trust God’s promise that what this person did was meant by God for good.  So as a result, I am feeling encouraged about what He’s going to do with this.

Three down, four to go.

But wait …

I Think I Can Stop Here

Not just because this is getting long.  But because I’m now seeing God.  I’m seeing that the same God who is in control of the first three discouragements, is in control of the rest.

Now that I am seeing God more clearly, when I look at the rest of my list, I feel peaceful.

I can honestly say, my discouragement is gone.  I’m not jumping up and down.  But I’m feeling strong.  Hopeful.

And thankful — for a God who changes my heart when I seek Him.

Comments?  Thoughts?

I’d love to hear them.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture is from Microsoft Publisher Clipart.)

Category: Hopeless or Discouraged?, Stories from My Life

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19 Responses

  1. Megan L. Anderson says:

    The description “vague discouragement” resonates with me. I think a lot of the time we get caught up in emotion and don’t stop to deeply consider what that emotion may be a symptom of. We end up just wallowing in that feeling or brushing it off. Listing out specifically what troubles us is such a simple but effective way of training our eyes to watch for God’s intervention and healing. A great post. Thank you!

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this post and thanks for the honesty. Your willingness to set an example in your battle is both encouraging to me and motivating for when I am feeling discouraged. The Lord is using you. Thank you.
    Sarah Gillaspie

  3. theashgiri says:

    Yo Steve,

    If it is any encouragement, your blog-ministry is a huge blessing to my life.

    Press on!

    Ash

  4. Anne says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing this blow by blow account of how God’s promises knocked out your discouragement.

    Great message Sunday.

    God is faithful!

  5. Nsikan says:

    Thanks for your post steve.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This post was a huge blessing. It communicates a spiritual process, and a means of interacting with God, that’s often unclear – when we’re in the midst of discouragement, and for new believers, or believers who’ve never taken this approach, or prayed in this way. I was glad to read it myself; discouragement is a way the enemy loves to steal our joy, and Christ is so much bigger. I’m also sending it to several friends. Thank you! Even your tough day/week, God used for good 🙂

  7. yvonne says:

    WOW Steve!!! You are a wonderful man of God. I can truly see that God is pouring out His love into you to pour out to others. You have no idea how God is working through you. He is working tremendously deep and profoundly; as deep calls onto deep. You are truly providing daily bread that has an everlasting meaning and substance.

    Absolutely inspiring and I have never heard so many great words of wisdom from you revealing the counsel of God and wisdom. You might be discouraged, but it has had a deeper affect than you realize. I personally thank you for stating, “God’s promises are His childrens bread, and the support of this faith”. “Discouragement is unbelief”. “The fact that I am discouraged shows that my faith is weak”. “Which means faith comes from Him, and is strengthened by Him”.

    I realize myself who He is In Me, but I am afraid to let God and just trust God. I have never had the outcome I expected and I too am in the place where I am so discouraged, but unable to look back or go back again where I came from. I can only move forward. But it is a difficult place to trust God whenevery thing seems totally opposite to what the scriptures say but……

    a. I always see answer to prayer.
    b. My intimate relationship with God is more valuable than any pricable object every made by man. There is no object worth more to me….
    but ooops, what happens to this ??? when every thing like Job….loses everything…..
    c. God’s Glory comes shiny through the times
    when we think we are past understanding.

    You are a wonderful man of God, The Great Son of Man, and Bride of Christ. Keep up the good work. You doing amazing. Thank also for encouraging me today. You have been a blessing.
    I just wanted to convey this message to you.

    Sincerely,
    Your Sister in The Lord Yvonne

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Yvonne. Isn’t it kind of the Lord to meet us when we are low, strengthen our faith, fill us with hope, and reveal Himself to us? He is so faithful.

      May the Father continue to encourage you as well —

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  8. Bill Schuler says:

    My dear brother, my big brother. How I wish that I could give you good effective council in the moments when you clearly need it. I truly hope that you have someone well suited to confide in during these times we all experience in life. I have been praying for you, oddly enough for encouragement, I will keep it up now that I see it is relevant. You are a soldier, and a good one, so I know that you will keep up the fight. I will fight beside you on my knees, and we will see more of God as we pray according to His will.(I love that) I know that In my life discouragement has at times been a good catalyst to bring about needed change, and I’m sure it has also been a tool of the enemy to weaken my connection to God. I so admire your approach by a thorough examination through prayer that results in heart change! That’s the Steve Fuller I know. 🙂 I know Jesus is full of compassion for you, as He was a man of many sorrows. I tell you the truth, I wouldn’t want to drink the cup you pastors have to drink from, no thank you. But be encouraged by Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross! No words can describe the wonders that await you for your present affliction. Finish well my brother!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hey Bill —

      I loved reading this. Thank you so much for your encouragement, and for your prayer. Means so much.

      Let’s run the race, brother. Eternal joy awaits.

      Steve

  9. Nan says:

    Thank you for this. I have just started to use the Lord’s promises as weapons against discouragement and they really do work. The Lord’s words are truly alive. They can cut through depression and discouragement like sharp swords.

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