Resist discouragement

Resist discouragement

by Rick Warren

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)

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As a pastor, I’m sure many of you are discouraged.

Some of you are discouraged over your children that their lives are not going well. Some of you are discouraged about your marriage; it’s not at all what you thought it would be. You feel deflated and disappointed.

Some of you are discouraged about your finances, or your health, or the economy, or an unanswered prayer.

I want to say something to you, and it may sound mean, but it isn’t. It’s simply truth, so I say this in love: If you’re discouraged, that’s your choice.

We make a choice to be discouraged. We make a choice to let discouraging thoughts move freely through our minds. But, we can also make a choice to change our thoughts at any time, taking them captive in the Lord.

You get to choose what to focus on – your purpose or your problems, God’s power or your weakness, or your circumstances.We can fight discouragement. Here’s a tip to help: When you get discouraged, focus somewhere else. Say to yourself, “I don’t have time to be discouraged right now. I’m too busy fulfilling my life mission.”

This doesn’t mean you should be a Pollyanna and pretend everything is okay. You can be realistic, but you also need to be optimistic because you are a Christian: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NIV). God says, “Lo, I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20 KJV). He will help you and he will strengthen you. Faith starts with optimism.

Some of you have been praying for something specific and you haven’t yet gotten the answer. In Habbakuk 2:3 (NLT), God says, “These things I plan [for your life] won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.”

Just be patient. The answer you’re waiting for will not be overdue a single day. God’s timing is always perfect.

At Saddleback, we claimed this verse from Habbakuk for 13 years. We were growing bigger and bigger, but we still didn’t have the land we needed to build a worship center. We’d tell God, “Everybody else has a building. How come we don’t have a building?”

After 13 years, God answered our prayer – and we realized he had a much bigger plan than we did. The property we built on was not even available when we first started Saddleback. There weren’t even roads leading to the property. God had a plan and slowly, steadily, surely he began to fulfill his vision.© 2008 Rick Warren. All rights reserved.

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