We all face it.
Some of us admit it
as a part of daily life.
Some of us deny it
and consider it a weakness.
But I'll call it what it is...
and attack on my purpose!
Sure it can come from
fatigue, stress, over commitment
and the busy-ness of life.
And typically we turn to blame ourselves
for those times life when we face it.
But if we understood the definition
and if we boiled our life down
to having specific purpose...
a driven desire to fulfill a designed plan,
then maybe we might realize
that we are not always the sole cause
of this discouragement.
First, let me take apart the word.
dis: a prefix that means to break apart.
courage: the quality of mind or spirit
that enables a person to persevere
in the face difficulty, despite fear.
So if we are discouraged, our mind
and spirit are broken apart in some way,
slowing us, deterring us from
accomplishing that which we pursued.
To gain a new perspective
on discouragement, allow me take you
into the world of the Israelites
who had a very interesting situation
that gives us insight into this topic.
I'm going to take you to a time
when they were nearing the end of
a very long captivity under Babylonian rule.
There was a new king in charge
and God did some pretty amazing things.
Now in the first year of
Cyrus king of Persia,
that the word of the Lord
by the mouth of Jeremiah
might be fulfilled,
the Lord stirred up the spirit
of Cyrus king of Persia,
so that he made a proclamation
throughout all his kingdom,
and also put it in writing, saying,
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:
All the kingdoms of the earth
the Lord God of heaven has given me.
And He has commanded me
to build Him a house at Jerusalem
which is in Judah.
Who is among you of all His people?
May his God be with him, and
let him go up to Jerusalem
which is in Judah,
and build the house
of the Lord God of Israel (He isGod),
which is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:1-3 NKJV
First of all, let me just say, WOW!
This man Cyrus, king of Persia,
was not a worshipper of the God
he is talking about.
But God still stirred in his heart
to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah
and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
So he let go many Israelite captives.
They were told to return to Judah to build it.
And he gave them the supplies as well.
THAT, for certain has purpose.
Now, we will skip ahead a bit,
past their moving and getting settled.
So it's year two and they have a plan
and are beginning to build...
with a purpose.
Now when the adversaries
of Judah and Benjamin
heard that the descendants
of the captivity were building
the temple of the Lord God of Israel...
Let us pause right there,
because we need to ponder
that thought a moment.
It's been 70 years since
the Israelites were taken
So these are the descendants
of most of the original captives.
In 70 years, maybe only a few...
who were most likely kids
when taken captive, might still be alive.
So how is it that they have
They don't even KNOW these people
from this other nation.
But this is that sort of
feudal family thing.
Nation against nation,
that passes down hatred
from generation to generation.
Israel and Judah had be pretty desolate
for 70 years and their adversaries...
or their enemies, were pretty pleased.
But now that they are returning
to re-build the temple...
well that was just not cool with them.
So the enemy nation came
and asked the governor, Zerubbabel,
if they could help...
pretending that they too worshipped
the same God.
But the Z-man said no!
“You may do nothing with us
to build a house for our God;
but we alone will build
to the Lord God of Israel,
as King Cyrus the king of Persia
has commanded us.”
You see, Zerubbabel knew
it was purposed for the captives
released by king Cyrus to do the building.
This was too strange a circumstance...
too God-ordained to let anyone, or
anything get tangled in the mix
and mess it up.
And the Israelites had a history
of allowing the influence of others
distract them from their devotion to God.
It had led them away to idolatry in the past
which ended in captivity.
They were just now being released
from decades of that.
This certain purpose could not
stand for interference...
But watch what happened
in the next verse,
just after he said no to them...
Then the people of the land
tried to discourage the people of Judah.
They troubled them in building,
and hired counselors against them
to frustrate their purpose
all the days of Cyrus king of Persia,
even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Clearly, even their offer to join them
in the building was not a sincere one.
For the moment their offer was turned down
they set out to direct opposition.
If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
Is that how the saying goes?
I'm not so sure...
but these adversaries thought so.
But here is what we need to realize...
we all have them,
adversaries, that is.
And we may think they are people.
But they are not.
People are just... well, people.
We are all actually, in the same boat.
We all have the same type of adversary
who lives in hiding, but reaches into our lives,
stirs the pot of discouragement,
then sits back to watch as we take out
our frustration on other people.
For we are not wrestling
with flesh and blood...
contending only with physical opponents,
but against the evil authorities,
against the powers, against the master spirits
who are the world rulers
of this present darkness,
against the spirit forces of wickedness
in the heavenly supernatural sphere.
Ephesians 6:12 AMPC
Scoff if you like.
But that's exactly what pleases satan.
He wants you to think he doesn't exist.
He want's you to make light of
the spiritual darkness and the battle
over your soul.
For then you won't take it seriously
until it's too late.
But if you should choose to pursue
a purpose higher than yourself...
one, in fact, like these former captives
who longed to glorify God by building
something that would bring others close to Him,
then you may also face adversaries
who discourage, frustrate and trouble you.
And if that's YOU, then lean in.
Because God wants to ENCOURAGE you.
And we can define that as well...
en: to bring together, all sides complete;
to be in the state of...
courage: the quality of mind or spirit
that enables a person to face difficulty
despite fear to persevere.
When God purposes something,
He will also bring together within us
the courage to complete it.
But we have to know that there will be
an adversary who wants us to be halted.
If he can't join us...
or rather if we won't sit back and be idle
joining him in nothingness,
then he will try to beat us
through discouragement, frustration
Just like he did when he got that nation
of adversaries to the Israelites
all stirred up after they came back
Little children, you are of God...
you belong to Him and have already
defeated and overcome them,
because He Who lives in you is greater
and mightier than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 AMP
Don't forget that you are purposed.
Don't forget Who purposed you.
Don't let your adversaries help you...
for they will only lead you away to distraction.
Don't become overwhelmed by
discouragement, frustration or trouble.
For if you are facing any of those today...
it may just be that you are actually
right in the middle of your purpose.
And that is exactly when you need
to press in and press on.
Be complete on all sides,
surrounded by the courage of Christ,
for you are found in Him.
Word of God
train me today...
To know that You have purposed me
to encourage others and lead them closer to You.
To not let my adversary distract me,
nor let him discourage, frustrate or trouble me.
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