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Discouragement destroys hope and without hope, we give up which is what the devil wants. When you are discouraged or depressed, what should you do? Should you sit around and wait for God to act, or is there something you can do to resist the devil and reject his influence in your life? Sometimes the Lord asks us to wait on Him to take action on our behalf, but there are many ways you can take initiative to defeat the enemy of discouragement.

1. Deal with any guilt in your life.

If you are guilty of wrongdoing and have not yet dealt with it, repent and confess your sin to God. He will forgive you. Do not be deceived by Satan’s efforts to prevent or postpone your repentance. Instead, humble yourself before God, repent, and ask Him to restore your soul. (In I John 1:9-9,).

2. Put your faith in God.

You take up the shield of faith when you choose to believe God’s Word rather than the lies of the devil.

If you are tempted with the thought that God has abandoned you, declare to your soul God’s promise recorded in Hebrews 13:5: “[God] . . . hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that [I] . . . may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me

3. Encourage your heart in the Lord.

Make a conscious choice to trust in the Lord and to reject fear and discouragement just as David did when he was discouraged.

You can encourage your heart in the Lord by Meditating on His Word. As you feed your soul and spirit with truth, God will strengthen you and give you hope. Find a quiet, private place to meet with God. Ideally, this “place of refuge” should be far removed from telephones, work, or other pressures.

4. Correct a wrong focus.

When you are discouraged, it is important to evaluate whose reputation will suffer—yours or God’s. If your reputation is your primary concern, then your focus is in the wrong place. (See Matthew 6:9.)

Always do your best to make sure you are doing God’s work in God’s way. If you are confident that God led you to do what you are doing, then it is His reputation that is at stake. As you rely on the Lord, “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chronicles 16:9).

5. Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise to God.

It is important to recall God’s blessings and thank Him for what He has done.

As you think about God’s goodness in your life, take time to thank the people who have invested in you. Contact family members, teachers, friends, mentors, and others to express your gratitude for what they have done for you. Let them know what a difference they have made in your life. Writing one thank-you note each day is a healthy habit that will battle against depression.

6. Ask for prayer support.

Often, we are reluctant to tell others that we are discouraged, because we want them to believe that we are strong and able to quickly overcome setbacks. This can be an indication of pride. However, as you humble yourself and ask others to pray for you, God will give you more grace.

7. Read biographies of faithful Christians.

Every person whom God has used mightily has experienced times of severe discouragement. As you read the testimonies of faithful men and women of God, the Lord can help you see your discouraging situation from a bigger perspective that can illuminate His purposes.

When you are overwhelmed with feelings of discouragement, put your trust in God, for the Lord is with you, just as powerfully and faithfully as He was with Joshua. Take these steps to victory, “that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7).

Institute in Basic Life Principles

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