One time on a Colorado family vacation, Craig and I decided that we should take the kids on a hike up a new mountain trail. The narrow, steep ascent was going fairly well until we heard a loud roar of thunder and saw dark rain clouds blowing in. We were already halfway up the mountain. Yikes! What to do?! Hunt for a nearby refuge or get back down to the car? We chose the car. How we made it back down in “lightning” speed without any tumbles off the mountain was nothing but God’s divine protection!
A big storm can be very frightening. Especially when you’re right out in the middle of it!
Is your heart deeply troubled by a storm right now and you are trying to run for cover? Or maybe your storm has been lingering for a long season and has placed you in “survival mode” or maybe even left you feeling hopeless, anxious, and beyond weary.
If so, what steps have you taken towards God’s peace and encouragement?
There are 3 vital questions I’d like for you to answer regarding encouragement:
- Have you taken time to receive encouragement from God’s Word and in prayer?
- Do you have someone who can listen and encourage and strengthen your faith?
- Are you encouraging and building yourself up in the Lord?
If you are a mature believer, my guess is that you might have answered, “Yes.” to the first question and possibly the second one, too.
Having your heart strengthened directly by God and through His people is an absolutely necessity to stay strong and fight the good fight of faith!
Sadly, when I’ve directly asked struggling Christian friends, family members, or church members, the answer has (so far) always been the same on the 3rd question: “No, I’m not.”
I’ve been on both sides of the answer to this question. Lately my passion has been growing to make a life-style out of building myself up in my most holy faith (Jude 1:20).
I’ve found that when I “preach to myself” words from God’s Truth, I forget about my feelings of despair, anxiety, and fear. Then I’m able to persevere through my trial with supernatural peace, joy, and hope. Even more, our God, the Consuming Fire, takes this faith and fans the flame in my heart for Him!
Encouraging myself is actually reinforcing all of the Truth that I’ve stored up from God and His people. It truly seems like my faith comes to life in ways that would have been dormant if I hadn’t received it in this personal way.
This is especially true in life’s darkest moments when the rubber meets the road.
Christ-followers, we must learn to fight and persevere in our battles standing firm in Christ’s power, not wallowing in self-pity and hopelessness! No! Don’t give up! No matter the circumstances, your mind, will, and emotions need to yield to God’s Truth.
Encourage yourself in the Lord!
God, you are with me! I am not alone. You are for me. You are my Strength. You are my Helper, my Refuge, my Wisdom, my All in All. You are worthy! Father, you are my Peace. You love me with an unending love. I know You will provide all my needs. You don’t waste anything in my life. You hem me in before and behind. You hear me. My hope is in You. My life in hidden in You. I submit myself to You. I resist the devil. I cling to Your promises. You are my Life. I hunger and thirst for You. Take my fear and perfect me in Your abundant love. I am Yours and You are mine. I lift up a sacrifice of praise to You.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 is one of my favorite (out of many) self-encouragement examples in the Bible. He prays,
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
Press on and go onto the heights with our Father, dear believer! Worship Him in your storms! Through Christ we are OVERCOMERS!
…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13