“Discouragement is not from God” – Ignatius of Loyola
“Disappointments will come and go, but discouragement is a choice that you make.” – Charles Stanley
Discouragement is a sin. Yep you read that correctly, and you can go back and read it again if you need to. Better yet, I will say it again, discouragement is a sin. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the Scriptures and you will see revealed God’s attitude about discouragement clearly explained.
Before we progress and you think I am a heartless and callous soul who just kicks a man when he is down, I think it is wise to define the Biblical term “much discouraged” from our text. Discouragement is not the same as a passion or burden for someone or something. A concern for a person or circumstance is not discouragement, nor is having a broken or heavy heart. Actually, all of these things are spoken of positively when they drive us to trust in God and faith in His sufficiency. If concern drives us to dependency upon God, than it is a good thing to possess. Discouragement in the text before us is being so down that you refuse to get up.
Discouragement is being downtrodden, cut down, and dispirited. To be discouraged is to call into question the very goodness of God because you doubt Him. Discouragement is when we refuse to engage in the work of God because things have not gone our way or have become difficult, and it is sinful.
God reveals His posture toward such an attitude of discouragement in Numbers twenty one. God sent fiery serpents among the people to bite and kill them because of their discouragement. Wow, that ought to tell us something about God’s perspective on the issue.
The people in this text have gone through some rough times, no doubt. In the previous chapter both Miriam and Aaron have died, and now in verse one of chapter twenty one they are engaged in a fierce battle with an enemy. Things are not peaches and cream for them, and there are some real serious difficulties that they are facing. I am not trying to down play anything you may be going through, but your difficulties do not grant you a pass of discouragement… it is still sinful. You have troubles on every hand, so did Israel, and God judged them for their discouragement.
Notice the attributes of Israel’s discouragement that come to light: They spake against Moses and God (they were in opposition to everything the leadership wanted to do). They blew things out of proportion (no bread, no water, were all going to die). When people are discouraged and lose heart to do the work of the Lord, they will be critical of those who are doing the work and they will blow petty things up into major problems.
Unfortunately, I have seen this way to many times among Christians. They get hurt (Christians are human, and they will hurt you occasionally) and then get discouraged. They quit doing what God wants them to do, and get critical of others who love them and are trying to help them grow in Christ. They then take to social media and blow things up, “nobody loves me”, “everyone is against me”, “I was never loved at that church”. Discouragement is one of Satan’s favorite tools to use to drive people from the pews and pulpits. Preachers and parishioners alike can become susceptible to discouragement when they focus on the problem instead of God.
Christian where is your focus and gaze today spiritually? Are you staring at the problem feeling yourself become more and more discouraged, or are you taking your problem to the Lord. If you find yourself making blanket blown out of proportion statements, you might be discouraged. If you find yourself be critical or church, pastor, or other Christians you might be discouraged. Take some time and pray before the Lord asking Him to help you not be discouraged but be full of faith and dependence on Him.
Daily Scripture Reading
Numbers 21 - 22
“And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.“