It is important to learn how to encourage ourselves because we get bombarded with many discouraging messages in a day. I will help you get to a place of the importance of encouraging yourself by dealing with three questions.
- What gives you the motivation to encourage yourself?
- How do you encourage yourself?
- What are the benefits of encouraging yourself?
David found himself in a situation where he had to encourage himself.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV
David and his 600 men were living in Philistine territory. They were forced to enter into enemy territory, (Israel and the Philistines were enemies) because King Saul wanted to kill him. David asked Achish the King of Gath to give them a town where they would live. Achish gave them Ziklag and they dwelt there. One day, the Philistines were planning to go against the Israelites and Achish called David and his men to join him. Achish thought one day he would make David one of his chief guards forever. David and his men travelled to where he was and were ready to go to war but the other Philistine commanders refused David and his men to join them. Therefore David headed back home.
When they came back, they found that Ziklag had been burned with fire by the Amalekites and all their families had been taken captive. The men including David wept until they could not weep anymore and the men started to turn against David. David had to encourage himself. He was in a difficult situation but he understood why the men were talking of stoning him. It was their discouragement and total devastation that led them to think of destroying him. They were thinking of destroying the very man whom they loved and who had led them for years.
When we get discouraged over long period of time, we will take actions we never thought possible. When we get discouraged, things became too hard to do.
I will continue with David’s story on question number 3. But the first question is,
- What gives us the motivation to encourage ourselves?
Knowledge of who God is
a) 1 John 4:16 states that God is love. His love for you has not changed. His plans to give you a future and a hope have not changed. He is all powerful, all knowing, Almighty and much much more. There is so much to say about who He is.
b) God is ever present – He has said that even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death he is right there with you. He does not go anywhere. He will never leave you and cannot forsake you. He stays right where you are. He will hold your hand and sometimes carry you over some stuff but he will be there.
c) He is a miracle working God – There is plenty of evidence of the miracle working power of God in scripture. When Jesus walked the earth, people got healed and set free. Jesus worked so many miracles that the bible says that it was impossible to put them all down.
A History of God Coming Through for You
David had been sent by his father to take some things to his brothers and see how they were doing. When he went to see them, he saw this giant called Goliath and everyone was afraid of him. But he was not. In 1 Samuel 17:34-35, David told King Saul,
“Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and attacked it and rescued the lamb from its mouth; and when it rose up against me, I seized it by its whiskers and struck and killed it.”
David had experienced firsthand what God could do. That is why he could encourage himself because he knew God would get him out of tough situations.
a) When you look back, I know you can see times when God got you through some rough times. If you are not one to write down, please down the victories because you will need them. You can look back and see the record of God getting you out of one difficulty to another. This gives you the confidence to trust in him for your next breakthrough.
b) Someone else has gone through what we are going through. There bible says there is nothing new under the sun. God gave them a breakthrough therefore he can do it for you too.
2. How do you encourage yourself
It is important to pray. And not praying when things are going wrong but praying all the time. The Word of God says we should pray without ceasing. If we don’t make prayer a habit, we make it too easy for the enemy to attack us. Prayer is a weapon that I think is underused by the Body of Christ. The enemy is always fashioning weapons against us. When we are not in prayer, we make fashioning so easy for him and he has all the time to do it. Keep him busy. Prayer also gives you strength to move on. You can pray for God to give you strength and he will. You can ask God to encourage you and he will. I remember a few years ago we went through a personal loss and I remember God encouraging me by teaching me lessons from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Pray Your Discouragement Away
Reading the Word of God
a) The Word of God is full of promises. It is also powerful. The only way you can encourage yourself using His Word is by reading and meditating on it. Write what you learn as you are reading because God speaks a lot through his Word. In 2009, the Holy Spirit took me through a whole lesson concerning the Woman with the issue of blood. I was later to find out why he taught me because God will use His Word to prepare you for something you are going to deal with later. And when you are constantly in His Word, you get to learn a lot of Wisdom which we all need.
b) Google encouraging scriptures. Write them down and read then over and over again. Use the Word to encourage yourself. Stick them on the wall so that whichever direction you turn, you can read a scripture than will encourage you.
c) Take the verses and everywhere that says I, put it your name. Here are some examples from last week and I will add others.
i) “This is the day that the Lord has made (regardless of all the issues that may be going on in my life), but I (Martha) will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24).
ii) “So shall My word (Your Word oh Lord that You said to me and the words You have said about me that I don’t know yet) be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
iii) Psalm 23 will encourage you.
iv) Psalm 13 and many other Psalms. Read or pray the Psalms to encourage yourself. Sometimes we get discouraged to the point we have nothing to say so the Psalms are very helpful.
d) The Word of God is also full of people like you and I who had to go through some very difficult circumstances but made it through. When you read their story, you know God will take you through. You can say,
i) If Joshua and Caleb made it to the Promised Land, then I can make it too.
ii) If Isaac was able to persevere and continue praying for his wife for 20 years until she got twins, then I can be able to wait for God’s timing.
iii) If Esther could fast and pray and her people were not destroyed, then I can fast and pray and my son, daughter, father or mother will not be destroyed by the enemy.
iii) If Hannah prayed God to give her a child and He did, then God can hear my prayer too and come through for me.
iv) If Joseph could go through what he went through and then end up as the second most powerful person in Egypt, then I can make it too.
Walk in Obedience
When you walk in obedience, you can plead your case before God. 2 Kings 20:1-6 Reads
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life.
Worship and Praise God
When you are going through hard situations, take time to worship and praise God. Sing a song to God. There is song that Don Moen sings that says “I will sing, I will praise even in my darkest hour through the sorrow and the pain” This will encourage you. Always remember, what you are going through is but for a season. It will end.
3. What are the Benefits of encouraging yourself?
a) You will know what action to take. Back to David in 1 Samuel 30.
– The first action David took after he encouraged himself was to ask God what he should do about the situation at hand. He asked whether he should pursue the people that had done this horrible thing. And God told him to pursue and that he would be victorious.
– The second action he took was to encourage his men to pursue. Granted they were tired and at some point in the travel, 200 of them could not go any further but he led the other four hundred and they recovered all their families and belongings.
b) You will avoid acting out of desperation. Sometimes people get so discouraged and make mistakes from a place of desperation.
c) You can be able to encourage others who are going through difficult situation. You will be surprised how you will have strength to encourage others because you have encouraged yourself in God.
d) You trust in God grows. When you walk every day believing that God will get you through, you trust in him more and more.
A Prayer from my book Hopeful Living, Trusting in God to Guide you through life.
Father, thank you, for you have been wonderful to us. You have been present when we need you. You are always with us through laughter and through tears. In Psalm 56:8, you say that you collect all our tears in your bottle. Help us persevere and not fear. You have the best for us in mind. Thank you for your love and kindness toward us. Thank you for your everyday mercies on our lives. We love you. Please keep us in perfect peace because we trust in you. Thank you for hearing our prayer. Amen.
©Copyright Martha Macharia