Monday, March 30, 2015

Quench Your Discouragement!



Scripture


Psa. 42:11        Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you disquieted within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my help and my God.

Observation

There were plenty of times that the Psalmist could have been discouraged. Life was difficult and much time was spent facing enemies. It seems that there should have been plenty of reason to complain — so why not?

Because God is our hope!

The early church fathers wrote much about this one small verse. They saw discouragement as a form of temptation, one which would snuff out the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Jerome wrote, “You must never let suggestions of evil grow on you or a babel of disorder win strength in your breast. Kill the enemy while he is small, and, that you may not have a crop of tares, nip the evil in the bud.” ( LETTER 22.6) The temptation is to feed the negative thoughts and when that happens, they grow and discouragement wins the day. I love the vision of a "babel of disorder" ruling your life. No way!

Therefore we are to “quench our discouragement…do not despair of salvation…you have God as Savior; in him you gain sound hope.”  (Theodore of Cyr, Commentary on the Psalms 42.7). We are to make an effort to not be discouraged! Look for ways to be encouraged because God is our hope.

Application

The secret to this Psalm lies in the final section, “for I shall again praise him.” It is when we praise God that we take our eyes off of ourselves and our personal problems. God is our help and our provider in times of need. He is the one that we worship and praise.

When I become far too focused on the details of my own personal life and the things that I believe could go wrong I get my eyes off of Jesus. Our lives are to be ones of continual worship and praise of him. When the focus of all our being is on lifting up Jesus, then the rest begins to fall into order.

Does everything come out just right or perfect? No, but the focus is different when it becomes about him and not about me. Quench the discouragement — don’t let it overwhelm. Don’t succumb to the temptation to feed discouragement but immediately look to God. Intentionally praise and worship him in the midst of discouragement and in that moment we will find a deep and abiding hope.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the hope you give us each and every single day.  Amen.

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