Discouragement can be completely destructive for the Christian. It not only hurts us, but it hurts others; when we show our discouragement as a way of life, who else wants to be like us? Who wants to be around a discouraged person?
While it’s a real feeling, and true for Christians (and not), it’s a bad feeling. When we wallow in it, it shows us and others that God is not in control. It is a sin.
One of the best meditations on controlling discouragement is an online sermon I found from The Rev. Daniel Davey of Colonial Baptist Church of Virginia Beach. I heard it a couple of years ago, and listened to it again this month. It still resonates.
Davey’s sermon uses Acts 18, and Corinth, as the discussion point. Davey says discouragement is sinful because it is “assuming that God cannot control the circumstances around you.”
Written by Luke, Acts 18 is the story of Paul going to Corinth, and he is struggling in his ministry. In Acts 18, Paul goes there to work in the tent business, and meets up with a Jewish couple named Acquila and Priscilla, who also work in tents. While in Corinth, Paul reasons in the synagogue to win converts, even when he is working in the tent business.
Paul does not get discouraged. Writes Luke in Acts 18:
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
Davey’s sermon on the topic gives hope, and is done in a especially powerful way. I particularly liked this remark of Davey’s:
Never doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light, says Davey. “Wherever there is a shadow, there is light.”