Discouragement is contrary to hope. You know that feeling, when you start to get excited about something but then you have a contrary thought cross your mind that tells you there is no point to have hope. That is discouragement. It can also be defined as the opposite of courage. Hope gives us something to look forward to, and mixed with faith we have courage. However, when discouragement comes in we lose our courage. I think of a child who loves to paint and after their teacher approaches them and praises their effort and tells them of what potential they have to win a painting contest coming up, they have hope. This child might then have the courage to sign up for the contest, feeling encouraged. Later, however that same child hurries home to tell their parent about it, with their painting in hand, but the parent sees their painting and laughs, telling them they are just setting themselves up for disappointment signing up for the contest. The child then loses the hope they had, and their courage dies as well. Their parent just discouraged them.
In the spiritual realm their is a spirit being called discouragement. He doesn’t want you reaching for your dreams, so he comes and whispers thoughts to you that are contrary to the hope that gives you courage to reach for the stars. Discouragement can also lead to a state of depression, also another spiritual being. My question is regarding that illustration with the child and the art contest, would it really had hurt that bad if he entered the contest and lost? Sure, but which is worse? To have hope and then be let down, or to not even have hope. Many well meaning people find it merciful to take away your hope, however what if the judge of that contest saw the same thing that the art teacher did? Who is to tell us that we don’t have what it takes to make our dreams succeed. If nothing else, trying and failing is a learning experience in which we can learn how we should improve, but don’t stop reaching for the stars. So, what spirit are we listening to? By God’s grace I have recently learned to see my thoughts from an outsider perspective, also known as objectivity. I am learning to be more objective about the thoughts that cross my mind, especially when my emotions start to get pressure to feel depressed. If you are feeling depressed and discouraged then I suggest that you take a step back metaphorically and observe your thoughts. Part of learning to stand up to the devil is to understand that not all the thoughts you have originate from you, or God. Sometimes it really is the devil sitting on your shoulder delivering to you on a platter your personal thoughts.. and this whole time we’ve thought they were ours. Keep in mind that if you discover that your thoughts seem to really be words of discouragement or flaming darts as the bible describes them aimed straight at your courage, that Satan Lies. He lies, which means that whatever he is telling you right now you can surely know that the opposite is the real truth and the real you. Be of good cheer Jesus said, “for I have overcome the world”. Selah…. why so downcast oh my soul, put your hope in God. Amen.