Avoiding discouragement is part of the battle. When the world looks at only using the scientific method and tangible evidence as the sole means of valid decision making, it becomes difficult to convince even believers that what God has designed you to be and do while on this earth is legit. Hebrews 11-13 shows the importance of having faith and reminds us that the foundations of our belief are found by grace through faith and not of works. Yet, being raised in an environment of seeing before belief, this becomes an underlying struggle. It is all too easy to say the words we claim to be true, to quote the verses on faith when things are good and decisions are easy.
The decision to follow Christ is more than just a one-time decision. It was always meant to be a change in lifestyle, much like the way one can change their outward appearance, it is so much more than just a diet or a single decision. Following Christ was never guaranteed to be comfortable and more times than not, is a difficult path (John 15:19). I believe that Christ’s promises in growth through discomfort also apply to a constant battle of discouragement, not only from the outside world, but from those who were meant to be encouragers.
There is some legitimacy, even for today, in Christ telling his disciples to leave their families and follow Him. Sometimes family can provide the most discouragement, be it Church or biological, things that people do not understand and that make them uncomfortable are the ones they will generally side against. This is the reason why finding oneself in-between the world and those that are biblically to offer support and encouragement, should not be deemed as abnormal. One must be careful when comparing him/herself to Christ but we can see this example in Christ’s life as even His disciples, in their uncertainty, failed to continue at His side when challenged and made to feel the effects of following the Savior. Finding encouragement in Christ and depending on Him is crucial when faced with the idea and pressure to give up. The enemy uses those closest to us oftentimes to dissuade us from continuing on the path of righteousness, the path we know we are destined to follow (ex. Job).
Much as Paul encourages the church in Corinth to run the race and to finish strong, so are we to cling to Christ and find our comfort and encouragement in His commands and promises until our time is expired on this earth and we can finally find peace. Do not give up; Christ created you to be used in exceptional ways. What truly matters is the truth through faith; sometimes this includes tangible evidence as God uses creation to communicate. Satan desires that we fail; we must rebuke his lies even when delivered by those we love. Finish strong even when it hurts, when loneliness threatens to overcome, even when it is not the popular route to take.
By Robyn Towler Robyn is currently working towards finishing up her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She lives with her husband and two furry babies: Lleywn, a one year old Welsh Corgi and Calvin, a three year old tabby cat, in Sunny Colorado. She is passionate about working with children and families and plans on adopting cross culturally someday.