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We all can use some encouragement at one time or another. Church attendance should be an important source of encouragement for believers. But you also need to know how to encourage yourself in the Lord.
Sometimes, the time at which you need to be encouraged can’t wait until the next gathering at church. Or that may not be the kind of message you will hear the next time you attend church. If you don’t know how to encourage yourself in the face of circumstances that threaten to overwhelm or depress you, you are going to have a problem standing during times like that.
There came such a time in David’s life. When he and his men returned to their city, they found that “it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives” (1 Samuel 30:3, KJV).
David and his men were devastated:
“Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep” (verse 4).
But David’s trouble didn’t stop there. The people who were with him talked about stoning him (verse 6a)!
Why would they go there? David did not burn down their city. He did not take their wives and children captive. He was with them. He was feeling the same loss they were.
Perhaps they felt he was to blame because he was the leader. Or maybe their thinking was that it was his fault because the enemy came while they were following David’s lead.
Imagine that you are in David’s shoes. Everybody’s pointing the finger at you. Nobody has anything positive to say to you to encourage you because are the problem. It’s all your fault.
At that point, you have two general choices. You can go somewhere and hide and have a pity party or you can find a way to move forward.
How did David respond? “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (verse 6b).
Three Ways to Encourage Yourself in the Lord
There are numerous ways that you can encourage yourself in the Lord. Here are three of them that I have found to be helpful:
1. Speak to your soul. The psalmist writes, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God…” (Psalm 42:5, NASB).
We can do the same thing the psalmist did. Speaking the Word of God to ourselves is a powerful thing when it is mixed with faith. God’s words are not ordinary words. They are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). That’s what we are imparting to our soul when we minister God’s Word to it.
2. Read the Word of God. In Hebrews 12:1, the Bible refers to “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us.” The previous chapter, chapter 11, is dedicated to the “faith heroes.” These are men and women who throughout biblical times pleased God and accomplished great things by faith.
They are the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Their resounding story is that all things are possible to him who believes. As we read about their works of faith, they serve to encourage us and cheer us on as we “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).
3. Praise the Lord. You may feel that praising the Lord is unthinkable when you feel dispirited. But in Christ, you can put on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3, KJV). Your doing so will enable you to move beyond a burdened spirit. Moreover, God will inhabit your praise (Psalm 22:3).
The aforementioned tragedy was one of the darkest days in David’s life. But he was able to move beyond that tragic moment by encouraging himself in the Lord. In Christ, we have the wherewithal to do the same thing when life gets us down.
Copyright © 2021 by Frank King. All rights reserved.