Ignoring Discouragement

One of the toughest parts of living the Christian life is ignoring discouragement and there are so many avenues that discouragement comes from!

We get discouraged by our inability to live out the Christian life like we want.  This is what Paul was discouraged about in Romans chapter seven when he said in verse fifteen,

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

But the discouraged Paul of Romans chapter seven reminded himself in Romans chapter eight in verse one, …there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Paul was discouraged that he couldn’t stop sinning, try as he might, but he was encouraged that Jesus was the solution to his problem.  Paul understood that he was to follow Jesus the best he could manage, but understood that he couldn’t follow perfectly.  So what do we do with discouragement?  We understand that the grace of God does what we cannot do and so Christ replaces our discouragement with encouragement.

We not only get discouraged by our inability to follow Jesus as we should, but we also get discouraged when we are trying to follow Jesus, but then observe other followers of Jesus aren’t doing the same.

I think this is a common part of the Christian experience.  When we are following Jesus, we somehow expect everyone around us to do the same, with the same commitment and enthusiasm, but this is rarely the case, and discouragement typically follows.

Here’s my argument: We shouldn’t be discouraged by others.  I know that’s hard, but understand this – God does not hold me accountable for what YOU do.  He holds me accountable for what I do.  The solution for me is to follow Jesus and only be concerned about what He thinks of me.  My service should not depend upon what other people are or are not doing.

Having said that, I must admit that when we join together for the purposes of the Lord with like-minds and all work together, it’s one of the most encouraging things you’ll ever experience.  The opposite is also true.  When you are living the very best you can, following Jesus as closely as you can, but others are not, it’s so hard to not echo the sentiment of Elijah when he prayed in 1 Kings 18:22, “I alone am left…

He believed he was the only one following the Lord!  I would say, what a funny thought, but haven’t I, foolishly, felt the same?

Let me encourage you to follow the Lord with all of your ability.  You will inspire and encourage others in the process.  You will cause those of us who are lagging to do more.  But forget all of that.  You will be a pleasing living sacrifice to your Lord who has done so much for you.  His approval should be enough for us because His approval of our service is all that matters.

Much love!

Wes LeFlore (918) 607-8489 or huskerwes1@gmail.com