Defeating Discouragement

Do Not Lose Heart

I want to remind you of the Apostle Paul’s words we looked at Sunday:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

It’s not always easy to keep this perspective, is it? Of course not. Sometimes, in our discouragement, it really does feel as if we’re simply wasting away. Sometimes, that’s the only story we can see. We feel crushed, or abandoned, or in despair (see 2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Yes, many of us pray in these moments. Yes, we try our best to trust God with whatever it is we’re dealing with. We may even have the courage to reach out to people who love us and let them in on our discouragement and struggle. All of these are important steps.

But I want to remind you that, oftentimes, the only way to move forward and glimpse the hope that Paul describes here is by making time to practice gratitude. Gratitude helps us see a bigger perspective. Gratitude shifts our focus from what we don’t have to what we do have. Gratitude changes everything.

In the words of Melody Beattie, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

We can all make long lists of things in our lives and world that aren’t what we want them to be. But have you paused recently to consider what you have to be grateful for? Have you made a list or written in your journal the blessings you have been given? If you grew up in church, there’s an old phrase people used and even sung—“count your blessings.”

Perhaps that seems a bit cliché. Of course, gratitude doesn’t change our circumstances or make our problems go away. That said, and I can’t even fully explain this, but in my experience, the practice of gratitude has been the key to reframing my difficulties and putting them in a new light. Gratitude has shifted my focus from the seen to the unseen. Gratitude has shown me what I have—that I may be hard pressed, but I’m not crushed. I might be perplexed, but I’m not in despair. I may be struck down, but I’m not destroyed.

Lastly, we can be grateful our ultimate hope is God. When all else fails, we can remember that he is renewing us each day from the inside out. Our daily trials and suffering pale in comparison with our life and future in Him.

Matt Carder

Matt Carder

Matt Carder is the founding pastor of Commonway. A 2002 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, Matt backpacked solo to over 30 countries after graduation, before returning home to marry his college sweetheart, Liz. Commonway was birthed under his leadership in 2005 at Union Chapel, and was planted as an independent church in August of 2011. Matt graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2018. He enjoys each new life adventure with his wife and two children.

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