Friday, February 8, 2013

Faith is Stronger than Discouragement

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.  13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  –Ephesians 3:12-19 (KJV)

Misery loves company.  I have heard this saying my entire life and I believe it to be true.  When we are down, sorrowful, unhappy, or miserable we crave the sympathy of others.  This is normal and we all need contact with other people in times of need.  As I have said before, the body of Christ, which is the church, is there to provide this needed support.  The problem comes when we seek, either consciously or unconsciously, to draw others away from the peace of Christ we are meant to possess.  Thus we find the true meaning in the saying about misery loving company.  The implication is we purposely try to drag others down to our level of sorrow.

If we are not careful we can be pulled down emotionally and spiritually by the misery of others, and the world is filled miserable people.  Their misery is demonstrated by an overall cynical outlook on life.  Such persons are hypercritical, judgmental, mean-spirited, and convinced they are justified in these positions.  Such attitudes contradict what the Word of God teaches about the joy, love, grace, and peace followers of Christ are to live out in our daily lives.  Just when you begin to think your life is heading in a good direction, or maybe you are having a good day, someone might be there to remind you how far off the mark you actually are.  This is where we can become discouraged.

Paul the Apostle took an opposite approach.  He shared his trials with the believers, yet he did not wish for them to become discouraged.  He desired instead they be encouraged because of the grace of God functioning in his life.  Paul’s desire was that they “faint not” at his tribulations, which he hoped would actually build them up and encourage them.  He did not want his troubles to discourage others, but rather to encourage them as a testimony of the power of Christ.  Here we see a wonderful faith principle at work.  Our problems, trials, heartaches, and difficulties can encourage those around us.  We accomplish this by letting the light of Christ shine from us even as our personal storms are raging.  From such vibrant and growing faith we become as the Bible says, “rooted and grounded in love.”  Furthermore, we go deeper into the knowledge of God and the wonders of His grace.

My friends, stand firm, walk forward, and be encouraged today, for the Lord is with us.  If we are walking by faith our trials will not defeat us and our testimony of God’s grace will embolden others to greater faith.  Do you have to deal with discouraging people today?  Try smiling and reminding them that Jesus Christ is greater than any problem we will ever face.

God bless you today.