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Resisting Discouragement
Rick Warren

So donít get tired of doing what is good. Donít get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

There are many things that work to keep us from completing our life-missions. Over the years, Iíve debated whether the worst enemy is procrastination or discouragement. If Satan canít get us to put off our life missions, then heíll try to get us to quit altogether.

The apostle Paul teaches that we need to resist discouragement: ďSo donít get tired of doing what is good. Donít get discouraged and give up ÖĒ (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Do you ever get tired of doing whatís right? I think we all do. Sometimes it seems easier to do the wrong thing than the right thing.

When weíre discouraged, we become ineffective. When weíre discouraged, we work against our own faith.

When Iím discouraged, Iím saying, ďIt canít be done.Ē Thatís the exact opposite of saying, ďI know God can do it because he said Ö.Ē

Ask yourself these questions:

How do I handle failure?

∑ When things donít go my way, do I get grumpy?

∑ When things donít go my way, do I get frustrated?

∑ When things donít go my way, do I start complaining?

∑ Do I finish what I start?

∑ How would I rate on persistence?

If youíre discouraged, donít give up without a fight. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without endurance and energy.

When an artist starts to create a sculpture, he has to keep chipping away. He doesnít hit the chisel with the hammer once, and suddenly all the excess stone falls away revealing a beautiful masterpiece. He keeps hitting it and hitting it, chipping away at the stone.

And thatís true of life, too: Nothing really worthwhile ever comes easy in life. You keep hitting it and going after it, and little-by-little your life becomes a masterpiece of Godís grace.

The fact is, great people are really just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. Great people donít know how to quit.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)

As a pastor, Iím sure many of you are discouraged.

Some of you are discouraged over your children that their lives are not going well. Some of you are discouraged about your marriage; itís not at all what you thought it would be. You feel deflated and disappointed.

Some of you are discouraged about your finances, or your health, or the economy, or an unanswered prayer.

I want to say something to you, and it may sound mean, but it isnít. Itís simply truth, so I say this in love: If youíre discouraged, thatís your choice.

We make a choice to be discouraged. We make a choice to let discouraging thoughts move freely through our minds. But, we can also make a choice to change our thoughts at any time, taking them captive in the Lord.

You get to choose what to focus on Ė your purpose or your problems, Godís power or your weakness, or your circumstances.

We can fight discouragement. Hereís a tip to help: When you get discouraged, focus somewhere else. Say to yourself, ďI donít have time to be discouraged right now. Iím too busy fulfilling my life mission.Ē

This doesnít mean you should be a Pollyanna and pretend everything is okay. You can be realistic, but you also need to be optimistic because you are a Christian: ďI can do all things through Christ who strengthens meĒ (Philippians 4:13 NIV). God says, ďLo, I am with you alwaysĒ (Matthew 28:20 KJV). He will help you and he will strengthen you. Faith starts with optimism.

Some of you have been praying for something specific and you havenít yet gotten the answer. In Habbakuk 2:3 (NLT), God says, ďThese things I plan [for your life] wonít happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.Ē

Just be patient. The answer youíre waiting for will not be overdue a single day. Godís timing is always perfect.

At Saddleback, we claimed this verse from Habbakuk for 13 years. We were growing bigger and bigger, but we still didnít have the land we needed to build a worship center. Weíd tell God, ďEverybody else has a building. How come we donít have a building?Ē

After 13 years, God answered our prayer Ė and we realized he had a much bigger plan than we did. The property we built on was not even available when we first started Saddleback. There werenít even roads leading to the property. God had a plan and slowly, steadily, surely he began to fulfill his vision.