Tuesday, August 6, 2013

For When We're Discouraged From Doing the Lord's Work

When you undertake the Lord's work, you can expect challenges, setbacks, and disappointment. It's simply a fact that often as soon as the Lord reveals His will for you, someone or something will come along to discourage you. 

Whether that work is a ministry you've started or work with, homeschooling your children, leading a Bible class or study, or rebuilding the temple of God--whatever God has called you to--expect that Satan is going to be on the attack. 

He is looking for ways to undermine the Lord's work, to discourage us so we will throw up our hands in defeat and walk away. He is hurling obstacles at us left and right so we will eventually miss the dodge and simply surrender. 

But I beg you, do not be discouraged.

Remember Jesus' words: 
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  
John 16:33

Do you remember how the tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to Jerusalem after the exile to rebuild God's temple? 
Do you remember all the opposition they faced from enemies who did not want them to succeed? 

"Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They hired counselors to frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia." 
Ezra 4:4-5

Satan uses discouragement and frustration to keep us from doing the Lord's work just as he tried to keep Israel from rebuilding the temple. Even within the church this happens. It's sad but so true.

Discouragement stifles motivation. It eats away at our once beautifully laid plans and makes us question what we're doing and if it truly is the Lord's will. All the energy and effort begin to seem like a waste. Yet if what we're doing is truly God's will, then we must persevere.

So what do we do? 

We either quit and Satan wins, or we seek the Lord, recommit ourselves to the task, and get back to work. 

The enemies of Judah and Benjamin worked for many years to frustrate the Lord's work, even lodging complaints to the Persian king, which worked. Temporarily. 

Sometimes God allows His work to be stopped, not because of us necessarily, but for His own purposes. He is in control, and we must trust in Him even when we are discouraged and do not understand His ways. However, like Israel, we need to be vigilant, ready for a door to open so we can set to work again.


In Ezra 5 we read how Zerubbabel and Jeshua resumed work on the temple and how "the prophets of God were with them, helping them" (verse 2):"[T]he eye of their God" was on them, and the builders were encouraged to resume their work. 

Eventually, the temple was finished, and 
"[f]or seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel." 
Ezra 6:22

Discouragement can keep us from doing the Lord's work, but often only because we let it. If God has a plan, He will see it to completion. Trust in that. He is faithful and will never abandon you. 

Whatever is discouraging you today--whether it's putting together your curriculum and plans for a new school year or attempting to minister to others at church, in your community, or in the world, or trying to affect change in a much-needed area in your own life--turn it over to the Lord. Do not be discouraged. He will see you through because He loves you. 

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." 
Ephesians 4:17b-19

I'm praying for you today,

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I was reading the Beatitudes with my girls this morning, and that combined with this has been a double-shot of encouragement for a weary heart :)

  2. You are welcome, Lisha. I'm grateful that you found encouragement from the Lord and from this post, which I believe was inspired by the Lord. He is an awesome God!

    Blessings to you, sweet friend.

  3. What a terrific measure of encouragement! I followed you over here (finally) from the roll call on my FB page...Walking Redeemed...a few weeks ago. What a blessing it is to find you!!

    1. Thank you, Kasey. I must say that it also took me a long time to find your site, and the Lord has truly blessed me through it. Thank YOU!

  4. Wonderful reminders...we all get discouraged at times and need to remember these verses and truths. And lovely photos to make your point as well. Thanks.