May 17, 2020
OVERCOMING “DISCOURAGEMENT”(Part 1)
With Bishop Ronald K. Powell
- Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
- Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Heb 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Discouragement is something that we all live with from time to time.
- It is easy for us to allow the pressures and burdens of life to overwhelm us and cause us to despair.
- Discouragement is a killer! Discouragement has caused many people to drop out of the church. It has caused them to quit on God. It has caused many preachers to give up the fight and lay down their Bibles.
- Listen to what John Calvin said about his life, “In addition to the immense troubles by which I am so sorely consumed, there is almost no day on which some new pain or anxiety does not come.
Spurgeon had this to say about his own battles with discouragement:
- “Discouragement … creeps over my heart and makes me go with heaviness to my work.… It is dreadfully weakening.“
- It is that way with many of God’s precious servants this morning!
- Some in this very room may be discouraged in your walk with the Lord. You are thinking about throwing in the towel. You are considering dropping out on the Lord.
- But, before you do, I would like to remind you that God did not save you so that you could live your life in a state of discouragement.
2 Timothy 1:7
- “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.“
The Cure For Discouragement.
- That verse would seem to indicate that you and I do not have to live with discouragement as our constant companion.
- I think the Bible teaches us that it is possible to win the battle over discouragement.
- God has a plan to deliver you from the debilitating effects of discouragement. In fact, I think the verses that I have read to you this morning tell us much about accomplishing that.
- These verses give us a 3 step plan, that if followed, will inoculate you against the infection of discouragement as you run the Christian race.
- Let’s take a few minutes this morning to look at these familiar verses one more time. Let them lift you from your valley and teach you The Cure For Discouragement.
I. COMMIT TO A LIFE OF FAITHFUL RUNNING
- Hbr 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
A. This Requires Preparation
- No one wakes up on morning and decides to run a marathon. That kind of race requires much preparation.
- So does the spiritual race. If we are to run well, then we must prepare properly.
1. Freedom From The Weights That Encumber –
- Anything that would hinder us from running well must be laid aside.
- (ie. Runners will strip away all that is not necessary so that they might run faster and farther. They get lean and light so that they can win their race.)
- What a lesson for the Christian runner! Anything that has more of you than Jesus does has to go if you are to run well!
- Whatever has you attention, your time, your resources, your strength, etc, it is a weight in your life. It has to be laid aside if you are going to run well. If it isn’t dealt with, it will cause you to become discouraged!
2. Freedom From The Sins That Entangle –
- The picture here is of an athlete stripping himself down so that he can run well.
- In fact, the ancient Greek games were run in the nude!
- Can you imagine a world-class athlete running a race in an overcoat? Of course not! They shed everything they can so that they can run without entanglements.
- Again, this speaks to the Christian runner as well. Did you know that you will still sin after you get saved? That’s right, you will still sin!
- You will still desire evil. In fact, one of the biggest shocks of the Christian life is how easily you can sin after you have been saved.
- You know, that thought will still grow into lust. That word may still slip out every now and then. That old anger may flare up out of control now and then.
- Your attitude might get rotten from time to time. Being saved doesn’t prevent you from sinning, but your sinning does prevent you from running your race well!
- We are told here that those besetting sins, those things that are of a particular problem for us as individuals, must be dealt with.
- We are to remove ourselves from their presence. Get away from places where they can take place.
- Guard yourself against their attack. We have to get radical and honest about the sins that afflict us as believers.
- I heard of an old mechanic that got saved. Now, he had a foul mouth before he met Jesus. And, after he was saved, he was still having a problem with his language. He talked to his preacher about the problem and the preacher came up with a plan.
- He said, “Every time you feel like using profanity, just sing a hymn instead.”
- A few days later, the preacher stopped by this man’s shop to see how things were going. He asked, “Hey Brother, how’s it going.” “Oh, pretty good”, said the man, “but, I’ve sung every hymn I know today and made up three or four!”)
God will help you!
- That illustrates the problem we have with sin, but God will help you conquer it if you are sincere and will trust Him in the matter!
- He will give you victory over the things that hinder your race.
- Don’t let the encumbrances of life and the entanglements of sin cause you to become discouraged in your race for Jesus.
This Requires Patience –
- We are told to “run with patience the race which is set before us.“
- We are said to be in “a race“. This word means “a struggle or a contest.”
- Our English word “agony” comes from this Greek word.
- That sure does describe the road of life doesn’t it? Sometimes life is good. The road is smooth and the way is easy, but there are other times when it feels like you are running blindfolded, uphill through a minefield!
- It seems there are times when life is a struggle! It is an agony! It is living misery! Those are the times that call for “patience“. Of course, God never said it would be easy.
- In truth, He said just the opposite.
- Jhn 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
- Job 14:1 Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble.
“patience” means “endurance“.
- Now, the word “patience” means “endurance“.
- It means settling in for the long-haul. It carries the idea of commitment to the race in spite of the obstacles or the difficulties.
- We are not running a short dash, we are running a marathon! Don’t be a Roman Candle Christian. A little pop, a little flash, a little burst of excitement and then nothing!
- Just be steady! If you are a teacher, be steady. If you are a preacher, be steady. If you are prayer warrior, a witness, a church member, just be steady.
- Run your race and settle in for the long haul! Make up your mind to be committed to the race! Make up your mind that nothing will prevent you from running a good, patient race for the glory of God!
II. COMMIT TO A LIFE OF FOCUSED RUNNING
- Hbr 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Hbr 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
- As we run this race, we are to keep ourselves focused. We are to concentrate on things that will prevent us from becoming discouraged as we run the race. The writer tells us what those things are.)
A- Focused On The Person Of Jesus –
- “Looking unto Jesus.” That is how the Christian life began! It all began with a look, Isa. 45:22.
- Looking got us into this race and keeping our eyes on Him helps us to do well as we run this race!
Notice the phrase in verse 1, “the race that is set before us.“
- This seems to me to indicate that we each run our own race. I can’t run your race and you can’t run my race.
- Now, if I spend my time looking at you and how well you are doing, I may become discouraged in my own race.
- I might become defeated because I am not doing as well as you are. Then, I might try to run in your lane! Or, I might stumble over pride if I begin to think that I am doing better than you.
Looking at others
- I might even get discouraged if I think that the way you are running has an affect on my own race. If I allow your failures and stumbles to hinder me.
- In other words, if I keep my eyes on you and how you are running I am in trouble!
- The only way that any of can run well is for us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He is the only One we have to run for.
Jesus judges the race!
- Jesus is the race Judge. He is the Author and the Finisher of the race of life!
- He gives out the rewards. He disqualifies the runners. He calls the race and He is the One, the only One to watch as the race progresses.
- Get your eyes off the other racers and how they are doing! Get you eyes on Jesus alone and run a better race.
B. Focused On The Performance Of Jesus
Not only should we keep our eyes on the Lord’s Person as we run, but also on His Performance.
1. He Finished Our Race For Us
- As we run the race of life, let us take courage in the fact that Jesus Christ has already passed this way.
- He ran the race ahead of us and He has completed His race. In doing so, He completed ours as well!
- That means that as we run and face the pressures of life, we have Him to help us along the way, Heb. 4:15-16.
- He knew His share of trials in the race of life, but He successfully navigated His course. Look at what He endured:
- Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
- Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We will pick up Here Next week – Let’s Pray