One of the greatest destiny stealers in life is discouragement. We live in a fallen world so unfortunately discouraging things happen. The key to fulfilling our destiny isn’t preventing discouraging things from happening; it’s keeping the discouragement out of our heart when they do. The Bible is full of stories of great men and women of God who had terrible things happen to them, yet many of them overcame and saw the promises of God. What’s the key to being like them and seeing the promise of God come to pass in our lives? Learning to strengthen yourself in the Lord.
Look at 1 Samuel 30:1-6
30 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
All of these events occurred when David and his men were in the perfect will of God. The Amalekites came in and burned their city and carried off their women and children while David and his soldiers were at war. Understandably, everyone was discouraged and began to weep. Then, the most unexpected thing happened! David’s men, his mighty men, decided to stone their great leader! How would you feel if you were David? He felt discouragement, but in the midst of that, David strengthened or encouraged himself in the Lord.
Notice, David didn’t wait on God to encourage him. David encouraged himself. This is something we all have to learn to do if we are going to live out God’s plan for our lives. Hardships will hit. Satan will attack. That’s when we have to remind ourselves of God’s promises for our lives and strengthen ourselves with them. Too often we are waiting on God to encourage us, when he is wanting us to encourage ourselves with His promises. Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is our strength. When we remind ourselves of the things God has promised us, it brings joy to us and this joy strengthens us in the midst of hardship.
We must all learn to strengthen ourselves in the Lord by reminding ourselves of His promises and speaking the word over ourselves in the midst of hardship. Throughout the Bible, the Lord instructed His people to do certain things to remind themselves of His promises and His nature. Examples of this include celebrating passover and writing scriptures on the doorposts of their homes. The reason God did this is because if we aren’t intentional to remember, we will forget!
After David encouraged himself in the Lord, he then inquired of the Lord about what to do next. God spoke to him and told him to pursue and he would recover all! One of the principles I want you to see is David didn’t hear God’s instructions about what to do next, until he made the choice to encourage himself. When joy entered his heart, he was able to hear God’s voice because his heart was in a place of hope.
God is a God of hope. He’s not discouraged and depressed even when we are. His plans for us are better than our plans are for ourselves. This means we need to get our heart on the frequency of hope if we expect to hear His voice about our destiny.
God has hope for your future! He wants you to hear that! If you aren’t hearing that, I’d encourage you to take the promises of God and strengthen yourself with them! If you’d like to learn more about to have hope in the midst of hardship, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.