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Fighting Discouragement (4 of 13)
Series: Book Of Nehemiah
INTRO: Satan has two very effective weapons against Christians, they are fear and discouragement ... both of these wear down the saints and destroy the foundations of faith. The biggest battles you will face as a Christian are not the trials themselves ... but the discouragement and fear that trials can create in your heart. A bunch of worn down saints are little threat to Satan and yield little fruit for God!
Here are some of the things that can wear down the saints:
a. A sense of insignificance, you're nobody; or very unimportant.
b. Apparent unfruitfulness ... with the emphasis on the word "apparent."
c. Sustained temptations often wear down the saints of God.
d. Human weakness is a major factor also; everyone has a tiring or breaking point.
e. Strife and discord in relationships can wear down saints.
f. Suffocating pressures of personal needs breeds discouragement and then fear ... this leads then to a lack of faith.
g. Constant good deeds and staying on top can even wear down the saints! This is what happens sometimes with faithful ministers who suddenly crash.
So, how do you fight discouragement ... Nehemiah in this passage reveal some important steps that must be taken to fight against discouragement.
A starting point is focus, keeping our eyes on God and not on us or our circumstances.
ILLUS: Gladys Aylward, missionary to China more than fifty years ago, was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng. But she could not leave her work behind. With only one assistant, she led more than a hundred orphans over the mountains toward Free China.
In their book The Hidden Price of Greatness, Ray Besson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker tell what happened: "During Gladys's harrowing journey out of war-torn Yangcheng ... she grappled with despair as never before. After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching ...
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