This is the third video in a series entitled, “Real Solutions to Real Problems.” In this presentation you will learn from the Bible several transforming principles for climbing out of the pit of discouragement.
All Scriptures are from the New King James Version Bible unless otherwise noted. Digital images are used with permission from FreeBibleimages.org, Goodsalt.com, John Paul Stanley / YoPlace.com, or they are creative common licenses.
“15 Then the Lord said to him: ‘Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus… 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’ “ I Kings 19:15a, 18
Remember how Elijah felt in verse 14? “Lord, Your people don’t care about You and I’m the only one left who does. I’m the only one left standing for what is right! I’m the only one left trying to serve You and that’s very discouraging.” Do you ever feel like that? Alone, afraid, and angry?
Then God has to tell us what He told Elijah – “15 Then the Lord said to him: ‘Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus… 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’ “ (I Kings 19:15a, 18). Circle the word “Go.” God is saying, “Get moving. Don’t sit in the cave of life feeling sorry for yourself. There is more to be done and I am doing things you don’t even know about that will encourage you and help you.”
This leads to our final step out of the pit of discouragement: GET MOVING, KNOWING WE DON’T HAVE THE WHOLE PICTURE (I Kings 19:15a, 18). We don’t have to have the whole picture to move out for God. God has a journey for us to take…a course for us to follow. He is inviting us to step out in faith, believing He is already at work behind the scenes to prepare the way for us.
Jesus Christ wants to lift us out of our pit of discouragement. He can help us; He can change us; He can heal us of discouragement. We don’t have to go through life being controlled by our emotions. Our emotions are controlled by our thoughts, and even though we cannot directly control our feelings, we can control what we think about with God’s help. We can choose to change our thoughts.
This is what Jesus is saying in John 8:31-32: “31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘ If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”The opposite of truth is falsehood or lies. The Lord Jesus wants to change our false beliefs that can keep us enslaved to harmful habits, hurts, and hang-ups, including discouragement.
I’d like to share some lies that have contributed to discouragement in my life along with the truth that is setting me free from them:
Lie: I am alone and unloved.
Truth: I am not alone or unloved. I am loved and cherished by the Creator of the Universe.
Scripture: “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.” Psalm 27:10
Lie: If somebody criticizes me, it means I’m worthless.
Truth: If somebody criticizes me, it is an opportunity for me to grow.
Scripture: “Princes also sit and speak against me, but Your servant meditates on Your statutes.Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” Psalm 119:23-24
Lie: I must be loved and accepted by everybody to be fulfilled in life.
Truth: It does not matter what other people say or think about me, what matters is that God always loves and accepts me.
Scripture: “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’ ” Jeremiah 31:3
Lie: I cannot admit any area of weakness; I have to be perfect or else I’m a failure.
Truth: It is good enough to do my best for Jesus, and not be perfect.
Scripture: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” Colossians 3:23
Lie: God is against me.
Truth: God is for me and not against me.
Scripture: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Lie: I could never be forgiven.
Truth: I am totally forgiven in Christ.
Scripture: “13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
Lie: I am an unacceptable person.
Truth: I am totally accepted in Christ.
Scripture: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1a
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6
Lie: I do not have what it takes.
Truth: Through Christ who strengthens me I do have what it takes.
Scripture: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
These are the kinds of lies that cause discouragement. Jesus knew the importance of correct thinking when He said, “31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘ If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ” (John 8:31-32). The more we “abide” or remain in Christ’s word, the more we will know the truth which can deliver us from the lies that can enslave us to discouragement.
You can change. How do you start? By beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This doesn’t automatically cure all of your discouragement, but without Christ in your life you have no lasting power to change. He wants to be a part of your life, and if you will receive Him by faith, He will come into your life to help you start climbing out of the pit of discouragement.
To help us understand our need for Christ, we need to understand that the Bible makes it clear that all of us have sinned against God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Our sin separates us from God Who alone is perfect and righteous. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a). By sinning with our thoughts, words, and actions, we have earned death. The word “death” in the Bible means separation. This means we all deserve to die and be separated from God forever in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). I think you will agree that is bad news.
“But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b). Notice that eternal life is not through our religion, our good life, or prayers. Eternal life is “through Jesus our Lord.” God sent His Son Jesus to take our punishment on the cross and rise again so we could receive everlasting life as a free gift by believing or trusting in Jesus alone (John 3:16; I Corinthians 15:1-6). Jesus said, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life.”(John 6:47). The word “believe” in the New Testament means to be convinced that something is true and then trust or depend upon.
Jesus is inviting you to believe or trust in Him alone for His gift of forgiveness and everlasting life, not your good life or religion or prayers. If you are ready to believe or trust in Christ alone for His free gift of eternal life, you can tell God this through prayer. Praying this prayer does not get you to heaven. Only trusting in Christ gets us to heaven. Praying this prayer is a way of telling God you are now trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ, to get you to heaven now.
Prayer: Dear God, I come to you as a sinner. I cannot save myself. I believe You died on the cross for all my sins and rose from the dead. I am now trusting You alone, Jesus (not my good life, my religion, or my prayers), to forgive all my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. Thank You for the forgiveness and everlasting life that I now have. Thank You for coming to live inside me through the Holy Spirit. And thank You for the assurance I now have a future home in heaven with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
When you trusted in Christ for everlasting life, the Bible says Jesus gave you everlasting life (John 3:16; 10:28). How long does eternal life last? 5 minutes? 5 years? 5 million years? Or forever? Eternal life is forever! It never ends. And it begins the moment you believe in Jesus. Christ now lives inside you through His Holy Spirit and He wants to give you the power to live for Him now (John 7:37-39; Romans 8:9, 11; Galatians 2:20). Jesus in you can enable you to say “No” to Satan’s lies and “Yes” to God’s truth as you learn to trust and obey His Word. He can empower you to climb out of the pit of discouragement and help others to do the same.
To help you grow in your new relationship with Jesus, I recommend downloading our free digital Pressing On discipleship materials to go through with those you care about. This will help you grow in your relationship with Jesus and with those you love.
“Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’” I Kings 19:5
We are learning from the prophet Elijah how to climb out of the pit of discouragement. Elijah had quickly descended from the mountaintop of victory on Mt. Carmel into the bottom of the pit of discouragement after he encountered resistance from wicked Queen Jezebel (I Kings 18:20-19:2).
Like Elijah, we can climb out of the pit of discouragement when we…
– Focus on the facts, not our feelings (I Kings 19:1-4a).
– Don’t compare ourselves with others (I Kings 19:4b).
The next step to take toward climbing out of the pit of discouragement is to TAKE CARE OF OUR PHYSICAL NEEDS (I Kings 19:5-7a). How did God respond to Elijah’s discouragement? Did He slay him under the tree? Did He scold him for being cowardly? Did He lead him in a Bible study or quote verses to him? Did He say, “Snap out of it Elijah! Just pull yourself together?” Did the Lord rebuke any evil spirits? No. God did not do any of these things. What did the Lord do?
We read, “5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat.’” (I Kings 19:5-7a). God let Elijah sleep and then provided a meal for him, not once, but twice. Think how much God’s prophet must have needed this! He had just faced off with 450 prophets of Baal (the male god) and perhaps 400 prophets of Asherah (the female goddess) on Mt. Carmel and eventually executed them all (I Kings 18:19, 22, 40)! He also ran from Mt. Carmel to the entrance of Jezreel (I Kings 18:46) which would have been about twenty-five miles! This would have left Elijah physically and emotionally exhausted.
Notice how tenderly God dealt with Elijah. The Lord knew what His servant needed. He did not put him down or condemn him; all God did was give him food and rest. God restored him physically. The Lord took care of Elijah’s physical needs. Even though God used His prophet in supernatural ways, he was still human and needed to sleep and eat after such an exhausting encounter on Mt. Carmel.
When we are physically and emotionally exhausted, we are more prone to discouragement. Mole hills can easily become mountains in our eyes when we are fatigued. During these times it is important to be aware of our physical and emotional needs. Maybe we need to watch our diet or we need to get more sleep or exercise. Ourphysical health has a profound impact on our moods.
The average person needs about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. 1We need time todream in order to maintain our mental health. Adults dream twenty minutes out of every ninety minutes of sleep, but they don’t remember them unless they wake up during the dream. Three nights without dreaming will cause most people to get discouraged. Dreams are God’s way of allowing us to vent our unconscious feelings and conflicts. 2 People who are properly rested are less likely to be overcome by discouragement.
When was the last time you had uninterrupted solitude with the Lord? Your main goal was to rest in the Lord’s presence? Sometimes getting away to rest in the Lord is the most spiritual thing a Christian can do, especially if you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.
Tony Evans writes, “Sometimes, the most spiritual thing you can do is get some sleep. We need the reminder that we are created beings; we’re not God. The fact that we need rest is a reminder that we are dependent on the one who ‘does not slumber or sleep’ (Ps 121:4).” 3
Prayer: Precious heavenly Father, sometimes we can become so focused on serving You that we forget to pay attention to our own physical and emotional needs. When You use us in supernatural ways, we can forget that we are still human and neglect our most basic needs. Thank You for reminding us that You do not need to sleep, but we do. You know our needs far better than we do. Please help us to be aware of our basic needs and care for them because You care for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
1. Retrieved on August 5, 2021 from Eric Sunl’s article updated March 10, 2021, entitled, “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” at sleepfoundation.org.
2. Adapted from my Introduction to Psychology and Counseling: Christian Perspectives class taught by Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier at Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983-1984.
3. Tony Evans, CSB Bibles by Holman. The Tony Evans Bible Commentary (B & H Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2019), pg. 1599.
The apostle Paul gives Christians several reasons in 2 Corinthians 3-5 why they are not to lose heart in the ministry:
1. Because God has made them sufficient to be “ministers of the new covenant” ministry through His Spirit which “gives life” in contrast to “the letter” of the Law which “kills” (3:5-6).
2. Because God has given them a ministry in which God’s Spirit transforms peoples’ lives from the inside out through His written word (3:15-18) and removes Satanic barriers that keep people from believing the gospel (4:1-6).
3. Because God has placed “this treasure” of the gospel “in earthen vessels” (frail bodies of believers) in order to show the “power” of His “grace” working in and through their sufferings and service (4:7-12).
4. Because God has given them the hope of sharing in Jesus’ resurrection (“He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus”) in the future (4:13-15).
5. Because even though their physical bodies are deteriorating through the aging process and sufferings (“our outward man is perishing”), their inward spiritual lives are still developing (“the inward man is being renewed day by day”) by God’s grace (4:16).
6. Because their sufferings (“our light affliction, which is but for a moment”) for Christ’s sake, result in “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (eternal rewards) in the future (4:17).
7. Because their sufferings teach them to focus on what is “eternal” and “not seen,” rather than on what is “temporary” and “seen” (4:18).
8. Because all Christians who die will receive an immortal body (“we have a building from God…eternal in the heavens”) from the Lord (5:1).
9. Because all Christians possess “the Spirit as a guarantee” of their future immortal body in heaven (4:2-5).
10. Because death (“absent from the body”) begins a new existence for Christians in the presence of the Lord Jesus in heaven (“present with the Lord”) that is far superior to their present existence on earth (5:6-8).
11. Because ministry is about being “well pleasing” to the Lord who is realistic in His expectations of His children, not people who tend to be unrealistic in their expectations of others (5:9).
12. Because “all” Christians will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” to receive rewards from Christ on the basis of their works (“according to what he has done”) for Him in the ministry (5:10).