How can you, as a Christian, stay encouraged even when the times are tough? We live in times where the next day seems unpredictable and unfriendly, and sometimes, we are left discouraged by what befalls us but, in these times, how do you encourage yourself in the Lord.
Some people have gone through a lot in this lifetime and they seem to have the world all against them. They wake up to badness, sleep with bad news and everyday seem to be a horror story, this happens to many people including Christians but how can you stay encouraged in the Lord as a Christian through these hard times.
Some have really given up and some left the faith since the God they believe does not seem to see their situation and jump into the ground and help them out. This should not be your attitude as a Christian; there is no better decision you made than the once of accepting Jesus as your Lord. So, here are some tips to stay encouraged in the Lord and to stay motivated and on fire for God regardless of what is going on around you.
#1 Read the Bible
The Bible was written to restore hope to broken and hopeless men and women. It is the scriptures that remind us of what God has done for us. It gives us hope to have a brighter and victorious day; it encourages us in the Lord because it reminds us of the hope that we have in God, the unfailing hope and by this we are assured that it will end well for us.
We as Christians live by only one book, which is the Bible; it does not matter what has happened or the situation you are going through; the word has the answer for it because the word of God itself is the answer. There are men and women who had nothing left but when they looked at this book, everything was restored, that is the power of this book.
The word of God contains instructions and inspirational words to encourage us to live the best of the life we have received in Jesus Christ. Please do not be shy to always turn to the word in any circumstances. Turn to the word always in all situations, it is the best place to take refuge in because it shelters never crumbles and stands true to what it says and what it is made up of, you only have to agree with its terms.
#2 Encourage others
What you give others will come back to you. There is a blessing that follows those who give; that’s what the Bible say, when you give to others, you store up treasures and goodies where you can read it later. Encouraging others is sowing a seed, and eventually, this seed will have to grow. One day you expect a harvest from that seed you planted way back.
When you get to a place where the courage to face the world or situation around you seem lost, just look out for someone who is feeling the same, talk to them, help them out and in this way, you are bringing your answer closer to you. I was once told a story of a lady who was sick but used to pray for people who were sick and one time while praying for one lady, she received her healing.
When you encourage and help others, your burden becomes lighter. Take a look at the apostles especially apostle Paul, the joy of helping others and encouraging them in the Lord made their burden, persecution and what there were going through look very light. Sometimes in encouraging others, your burden becomes very minute and this keeps you encouraged in the Lord.
Christian meditation is an excellent way of encouraging yourself in the Lord. This is one of the things we should be doing from time to time, even when we are not discouraged. The devil has a way of playing with us, he tends to always dispute our identity in Christ and what God has done for us in Christ and this is why Christian meditation is important in reminding us of the identity that we have in the Christ.
The essence of Christian meditation is to empty ourselves of the world and its junk and be filled with God himself; discouragement is one of those things we need to flush out of our system. When you start to consider and deliberately study all the things that discourages you as a Christian, you will realize that God has dealt with all these things and in meditation, you speak of what God has done and remind yourself of who he is to you and who you are to him; this is encouraging yourself in the Lord.
Whenever I get to this talk about Christian meditation, I am always drawn to the words that the Lord told Joshua when he was to lead the children of Israel to the promised land (Joshua 1:8). The lord clearly told Joshua that when he keeps speaking and meditation upon the book of the law, eventually he will start to observe what is written in and by this start making his way prosperous, he starts getting answers whenever situation demands on, this is a great way of encouraging yourself in the Lord.
#4 Praise and worship
Some people only think that praise and worship is something that is only done in church and they do not get it that it is personal. The exaltation of the name of the Lord through praise and worship reminds us of how great and powerful this God, nothing can be compared to anything that we can surface. We are reminded of the power that is at work in us through praise and worship.
Not forgetting worship creates an atmosphere for answers around us, we enter a zone where we hear God clearly about the situation we are going through, and this is where we find our comfort and our heart is encouraged in the Lord. Do you know what the presence of God does to us; it rejuvenates us, it strengthens us and gives us the courage to face anything that may come our way.
Praise and worship is also another way to get lost out of the world of trouble and discouragement and to soak in the presence of God. We exalt his name, we sing praises to his name and join the host of heaven to declare forth his glory and his power and when we do so we find the courage to see that discouraging situation as another victory won.
In prayer, we lay our burden in the temple and take on the burden of the Lord, Jesus said, leave your burden here at the cross and take mine which is light and easy to carry, this is what happens in prayer. Discouragement is a burden to us; when we pray, we invite heaven to look at the situation, and in this, we lay our burden to the Lord, and in return, God gives us His burden, and His burden is light.
Prayer is where you involve heaven in the affairs of your life; heaven takes note of the situation and indirectly through prayer, you give access for God to play a role in that situation. Before God, no discouragement cannot flee at his presence; his presence alone is enough to make every disappointment and discouragement flee and when his word is released, that is another level. When you take everything to God in prayer, that burden is lifted, and the answer is given.
God always delight in our prayers, and He is more than willing to give us the desires of our heart. God knows us better than we think we know ourselves, there is no better way than to let him in the situation to fight for you. In prayer, not only is our burden lifted but furthermore, we are delivered completely. This is the power of prayer in encouraging yourself in the Lord.
#6 Confession and affirmation
The greatness that resides in every Christian is immense. There is so much in you that what is out cannot outstand it; no discouragement can beat what we have in us.
So, in confession and affirmation, we are reminded of what is in us, our genuine person is shown out, and the whole spiritual world is made aware of who we are, and this is where the victory is because what we speak, we become.
When we remind ourselves of who we are, our body and mind are submitted to that power in us to overcome that discouragement and to walk out free and full of courage.
#7 Stay around, great people.
Great people have a way of lifting your attitude and encouraging you. Staying around great motivating and inspiring people helps you as a Christian get out of that state of discouragement quickly. Their courage to make it through hard times and their stories will inspire you that it is possible to stay encouraged in the lord and to walk out of every discouragement as a Christian because if they have done it then it is possible.
There is nothing new under this earth, we live in a circular world where the circles of life repeat itself. There is nothing that you will ever go through that someone one time. Some of these have been documented and some you know and interact with the very people who underwent what you are going through. In associating with them, you learn how they got out of that time. You get the necessary advice and words that will make you move out of discouragement.
You don’t have to stay around people who will make you feel more miserable and discouraged the more; these are the wrong association and wrong association drains out the little courage you had in you as a Christian, you have to stay around men and women who can advise you, inspire you and encourage you. You have to always be intentional in choosing your friends; choose those who add value to your life and not those who drain your life.
#8 Take a day off
Sometimes, the easiest way of encouraging yourself in the Lord is to take a day off what is discouraging you. You chose to ignore the situation and circumstances and focus on something else. By this you create an atmosphere where no such thing as discouragement exists and this is perfect in hearing the voice of God concerning that situation you are going through.
You do not have to take a day off physically; it can be a change in the atmosphere or creating a particular environment around you free from the discouraging situation. By this you light up your day and see where that discouragement can hide. You choose to live free and focus on what matters and that is getting yourself in order to face that situation when you get back.
When we take our eyes out of the discouraging situation, we see the wonder of life and these moments uplifts our spirits. Sometimes all you have to do to encourage yourself as a Christian is to forget what you are going through and rest truly on the cares of the Lord and see the situation get fixed.
#9 Rejoice always
We are raised in a world where they will never expect you to be always happy all the times; they expect during bad and trying times, you will have to be downcast, discouraged and depressed, and to them, it is understandable, but the scriptures do not entertain such style of Christian living, it is always expected of us to rejoice.
When you have this kind of attitude as a Christian, you will look at discouragement with another eye. You will not give any chance to any kind of situation to put your mood down, you will always laugh through it all and this laughing is not in ignorance or false pretense, no it is the hope that you carry. When you see someone laughing even when things are bad, that made is building up is muscles of courage.
We, as Christians, know that it will always turn out to be in our favour. No situation that sets itself against us has the power to destroy us, it is only a test to instill a character and godly patience in us. We will soon overcome and be the ones laughing and not the world and the situation laughing, because of the hope we carry, we always rejoice; no situation can and should discourage us.
#10 See the end
The easiest way to encourage yourself in the Lord as a Christian is to see the end; see the whole process and the whole story, and you will realize you are very safe in the hands of the Lord. Let’s say you were graced with the opportunity to walk to the end of that discouraging situation and you came back, how will you then react to that situation, definitely, you will react differently because you already know the end.
Luckily, we as Christians with the lens of faith and the revelation of God’s word through the grace of God have access to the future; the future is not a mystery to a Christian but a field to be cultivated and shaped according to what you would like to have. God has given us the power to see the end and determine how it will be, you can choose to let the discouragement waste and control you, or choose to see that the end will be okay and shape that end.
We are the architects and engineers of our future, and with the eyes of our faith, we have a complete projection of what we should build. This alone should give you hope and encourage you as a Christian. When you look at discouragement in this way as a Christian, you will only realize that these are small plans to divert your whole project and so take your eyes off them and look keenly at a price.