The Epistle written to the Church at Philippi was written by Paul the Apostle from a prison that was like a dungeon. Yet, Paul finds the strength and encouragement by God’s Grace to comfort others. When you read this letter you will find the word “rejoice” about ten times. This indicates that Christians will go through discouragements. When you are faced with discouragement, make it a habit to read this Epistle amongst the Psalms.
· If there is anything that will ever discourage a Christian it is the following:
1. Present sins
a. Sinful habits.
Committing the same sins over and over again will discourage Christians. Sinful strongholds that hinder our walk with the Lord and service for God. Discouragement also comes when a Christian fails to commit to the decisions made to overcome these habitual strongholds.
b. Sins we thought we would never commit.
Remember Peter the Apostle denied Christ three times; Peter was so certain that he wouldn’t and that he was ready to die for Christ, but when he did deny Jesus Christ he was so discouraged.
Luke 22:33 “And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”
As Christians we must be careful to be sober and diligent as we are all susceptible to commit any kind of sin, especially the ones we thought we would never commit.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. Vs 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…”
2. Past sins
There will be times in which we will overcome sinful habits by the Grace of God – those things that once had a grip on us and hindered our walk with God. However, what seems to plague the Christian’s mind is the memory of their past sins. Thoughts like:
- Has God really forgiven me…? - Is God still able to use me…? - Am I able to be close to God like I once was…?
King David was discouraged because of his heinous crimes he committed, and he went through these thoughts of guilt also.
Psalm 51:12 “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Vs 13 “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
It is difficult to be used effectively in the lives of others when you are discouraged.
Psalm 51:14 “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.”
It is hard to praise God with all your heart when you have guilt hanging over your head.
Part 2, next week – How to overcome discouragement…