All of us need encouragement. It is a tool that increases our confidence and inspires us to act with courage, spirit and strength. That is what we need! We don’t need anyone around to discourage us… instead we need encouragement. First and foremost we need to learn how to encourage ourselves. We are the only person we are with twenty four hours each day, seven days a week: 24/7 is our time with ourselves. We need to be equipped with tools to help us minister to ourselves.
Video: “Encourage Yourself“
David strengthened himself in the Lord
Before David was king in the Old Testament, God brought him through many difficult trials, hardships, rejection, and pain. We all know David as a “Man after God’s own heart.” His relationship with the Lord was highly unusual for his day because the entire outlook for worship in Israel at the time was focused on the sacrifice of animals to temporarily deal with sin, and not the sacrifice of praise from the heart. His heart led him beyond the letter of the law to the heart of the Lord. David learned how to rely completely on God for victory. David’s trust for God did not change with each circumstance. David had integrity of heart. His heart was forever faithful to God in-spite of his circumstances.
David was anointed to be king, but he didn’t assume the throne until 10 – 13 years after Samuel had anointed him. God was grooming David for greatness. He was being groomed for the throne of Israel. He endured more difficulty, persecution, and rejection than many of us face in a lifetime. David developed strength of character that only comes by winning private battles.
Read 1 Samuel 30:1 – 6
David learned the ability to do something in the face of the deepest betrayal and rejection imaginable. When he stood completely alone, that is when David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)
1 Samuel 30:6
“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters…”
How would you respond to a situation like that? Without question I would feel “greatly distressed” too if my life was threatened by my closest friends, not to mention having your entire family taken from you. It is one thing to deal with the grief of missing your wife and children, it is added hardship to face at the same time those who are rejecting you and remain strong. David was human.
The Bible doesn’t go into detail how David encouraged himself, but we do know his source of encouragement was the Lord.
In this message you will find tools to encourage yourself in-spite of any hardship you may be facing. We have to learn to encourage ourselves so that we can advance in God. God wants us to learn how to strengthen ourselves through Him because developing our skills will promote spiritual longevity. We need longevity because our destiny and potential cannot be attained in a few years; they extend to the end of our lifetime here on earth.
How To Encourage Yourself In The Lord
1. Look the right way!
Phil. 4:8 (NKJV)
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
Look for the good. Look for what is true and noble. This verse tells us to look for the lovely. If we do this, we will be encouraged and strengthened.
Phil. 4:8 (The Message)
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
You will be challenged from day to day. We are not promised that our days will always be blissful and peaceful. As you go through your day you may encounter things which make you cringe, or things that are wrong or ugly. Deal with these as you must, but do not let them become your focus. Remember that almighty God is with you. Can you hear Him say to you, “Look the right way?” Remind yourself of how faithful God has been in your life and set your gaze in that direction. God will be faithful again because it is his character.
2. Listen to God’s voice and follow!
Don’t allow the enemy to tell you that you can’t hear God, or that God doesn’t speak to you because God does speak to us. We have to tune our ear to His frequency by spending time with Him to recognize His voice.
John 10:4 (NKJV)
“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice.”
John 10:27 (NKJV)
“My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Close out all other voices of the world and focus on the One True Voice of God which will lead you out of your despair. Any voice that is shouting doom and gloom is NOT of God! God’s voice instantly brings peace. As a matter of fact God’s voice is peace.
It is one thing to hear His voice and another to follow and obey. If we cried out to God and He answers; obey. Our actions should follows hearing His voice.
When God speaks and you follow, life will become a romance. It will awaken your passion for God, life, and others. Listening to God’s voice becomes the first thing you do instead of the last.
Why is it that we humans try to figure things out on our own and then end up discouraged and hopeless? Let it be the first thing we do and save ourselves undo grief.
3. Pray your anxieties away!
Take inventory of what is occupying your mind. What occupies your mind the most becomes your god. Worries, if indulged, develop into idols. Anxieties will gain a life of their own like parasites infesting the mind.
What I am about to share may seem cliché or simple, but this is what I do when anxiety tries to overtake me. I run to my secret place in prayer with God and cry out how I feel and share all my anxieties with Him. He already knows, but something happens when I release it. I stay in my secret place until I sense His peace and reassurance that His is with me and I can trust Him with my life. Often we are anxious because we lack trust. We may have been wounded by others, or circumstances, and are afraid. I put on Christian worship music while in my prayer-time. It helps me to focus my attention on God, Who is my source of peace.
We have to stop playing and rewinding our memory tape of our past and allow God to heal us from the sting of it all.
Phil. 4:6 – 7 (The Message)
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Affirm your trust in God and refresh yourself in God’s presence this will break you free from the bondage of fear, worry, and anxiety.
4. Guard your thoughts!
Good thought choices keep us close to God, while bad thought choices will push us away. Do anything to guard your peace.
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.”
When you are discouraged your peace is gone. Hope is gone. Chances are you didn’t guard your thinking, or you are allowing circumstances to determine your mood. Circumstances come and go but God, and His peace, remain the same; always available to us.
Bring your thoughts into God’s presence. If they are negative, destructive, or blown up, God’s presence is the defuser.
2 Cor. 10:5 (NKJV)
“Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Don’t allow your vain imaginations to grow above who Christ is in your life. Focus on God’s answers and not your problems.
Psalm 105:4 (NKJV)
“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face forevermore.”
In God’s radiant light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel. Judgmental thoughts are unmasked as you bask in God’s unconditional love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of God’s peace.
Walk and talk with confidence. It’s time you look up, not down. It’s time for you to expect great things to happen in your life, not bad.
5. Praise your way out of despair.
I am sure this is one of the ways David encouraged himself in the Lord. David was a praiser. He couldn’t help it. Remember he had integrity of heart. He was solid in who God was in his life. Praise came naturally to him.
Psalm 28:7 – 8 (NKJV)
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.”
When David was captured by the Philistines in Gath David cried out to God his heart and his praise.
Psalm 56:3 – 4 (NKJV)
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”
Our very concerns, as we cry them out to God, can turn into praises because they express our need for God to intervene. They are truly a sacrifice of praise and this is what God desires from us; to be real, and to know Who our source is.
Psalm 42:5 (NKJV)
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of my countenance.”
Praise brings God’s help. When we are depressed or feeling down, we are encouraged to hope in God in this prophetic song. It lets us know that God’s countenance, His face, turns towards the one who praises. Then the praiser’s countenance is lifted by God’s love.
When we praise God He comes. His presence saturates us and we can’t help but receive joy.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Face to face encounters with God will always bring peace – this is what our praises do. Knowing this makes me want to always seek God’s face in every situation in my life. Actually, it draws me to want to spend time with Him because I am forever changed after being in His presence.
Psalm 105:4 (NKJV)
“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore.”
Numbers 6:25 – 26 (NKJV)
“The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Wow! These verses in Numbers sums it all up. Let it be your prayer that God will shine His face upon you daily. One true way of assurance that it will happen is to spend time everyday in God’s presence. The peace of God is more valuable then all the riches in the world.
6. Meditate on the promises of God.
All the verses I have placed in this message are God’s promises. We can stand on everyone. Reading God’s word and meditating on what it promises will lift our spirits. God’s word is truth. His word never lies. We will not be put to shame when we trust in God’s word.
Here are are more promises in God’s word to stand on:
Psalm 22:5 (NKJV)
“They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.”
Psalm 25:2 – 3 (NKJV)
“O my God, I trust in You, Let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.”
The words “trust” and “wait” are interchangeable. Trust = Wait. This means we need to ponder upon it, or roll around in it. Often trusting God requires waiting, and waiting requires trust.
Psalm 25:20 – 21 (NKJV)
“Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.”
There are so many promises in God’s word. Find some which pertain to your situation and stand on them. Get them in your spirit so when the wind and waves come, you won’t be tossed here and there.
7. Strength comes from covenant people in your life.
Our close friendships, especially with our spouses, are powerful because they are build on covenant.
Covenant establishes an agreement that allows the spiritual reality that governs your life to flow to the other person, and visa versa. This is why it is so vital to develop friendships with people whose lives consistently display the fruit of the Kingdom. When we steward covenant friendships with people of faith, we stay connect4ed to a growing source of strength that often greatly determines our ability to persevere through difficult times.
Ecc. 4:9 – 12 (NKJV)
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
There are many close friends of genuine faith in my life. Sometimes I don’t have to even tell them what I am going through, but just spending time with them I am uplifted. Why? Because my friends are people of faith and they naturally exude hope, peace, and joy. Many times when I am low, tired, or discouraged I spend time with my godly friends and I walk away encouraged and my burden is lighter.
Remember to protect yourself when you are emotionally vulnerable or tired. Don’t allow yourself to be around people who will drain you, or are complainers or who are critical. This will bring you down even more and discouragement will set in. You will become who you hang around. Choose your friends wisely!
All this said, if you have sin in your life, this will always separate you from God and make you discouraged. Check your heart and ask God to show you anything that is not pleasing to Him. When he shows you, or you may already know, stop it immediately and turn away from it. The pleasures of sin are but for a moment, and the consequence can last forever.
I pray this has helped you to encourage yourself in the Lord and to walk with confidence and boldness to keep on with your life. Be your own cheerleader! If you don’t who will?
From one encourager to another,
Pastor Kris Belfils