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Overcoming Discouragement - Bible Study Lesson

Overcoming Discouragement - Bible Study Lesson

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Published by tsupasat
This series of short lessons is meant for personal, one-on-one, or small group Bible study. The lessons provide biblical guidance for overcoming personal challenges, including: sinful habits, trials and temptations, critical attitudes, resentment, loneliness, and low self-esteem.
This series of short lessons is meant for personal, one-on-one, or small group Bible study. The lessons provide biblical guidance for overcoming personal challenges, including: sinful habits, trials and temptations, critical attitudes, resentment, loneliness, and low self-esteem.

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Published by: tsupasat on Jul 02, 2009
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06/14/2013

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The Overcoming Christian Life
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." 
The Christian life is an overcoming life. Even though we will definitely have problems and personal struggles in this life, we will be able to overcome because of Jesus. Because of Him, we have victory over the world, including sinful habits, bitterness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and discouragement.Dear reader, God wants you to live an overcoming life! Please read the followinglesson with faith, not in yourself, but in God.
Lesson 5 - OvercomingDiscouragement
2Corinthians 4:16 
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly weare being renewed day by day.
Introduction
John Bunyan was born in England in 1628. He received little schooling, but became a deacon in a Baptist church when he was 27 years-old and immediately sawsuccess as a preacher. Because at that time it was illegal to preach without a license fromthe government and Bunyan belonged to an illegal denomination, he spent a total of 12years in prison before dying at age 60. Bunyan wrote his most famous book,
The Pilgrim’s Progress
, while in prison. It is an allegory meant to illustrate the difficultiesfaced by Christians.
The Pilgrim’s Progress
tells the story of a man named Christian who is on his wayto the Celestial City. In their travels, Christian and his companion are captured by a giantnamed Despair and locked away in a castle called “Doubting Castle.” The giant starveshis prisoners and beats them every day, trying to make Christian and Hopeful commitsuicide. Finally, Christian remembers he has a key tucked in his clothes. The key is calledPromise. Christian and his companion use the key to unlock their chains and escape thegiant and his castle. In this episode, Bunyan shows how Christians can be captured andimprisoned by discouragement and doubt, but that they can overcome discouragement byremembering who God is and what He has promised.
What is discouragement?
Discouragement is the lack of courage or confidence. It’s easy to becomediscouraged when we are disappointed or tired. At such times, we feel we cannot or donot want to go on. 1 Kings 19 tells the story of how Elijah became extremely discouragedafter things didn’t turn out the way he expected. God had just helped Elijah win a huge
 
victory over the priests of Baal, and now Elijah expected that the idol-worshiping kingand queen of Israel would repent. Instead, the queen swore that she would kill Elijah.Elijah ran for his life.We also become discouraged from time to time, just like God’s great servants inthe Bible. James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man just like us.” Everyone has emotions,vulnerabilities, and physical limits.
What causes discouragement?
We become discouraged for many reasons. Oftentimes, the cause of our discouragement is a combination of emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges thatmake the situation seem impossible. Like the character in
The Pilgrim’s Progress
, we areheld captive by despair and doubt. Some of the challenges that can cause discouragementinclude:
Emotional challenges such as feelings of loneliness and abandonment, lack of self-confidence, fear of persecution, and personal loss and grief.
Physical challenges such as illness, lack of sleep, a gloomy environment, andclinical depression.
Spiritual challenges such as lack of prayer and unrepented sin.But we can overcome discouragement in our lives because of God. No matter what obstacles we face in our lives, God is bigger than those obstacles. In Elijah’s case,God led Elijah back to Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai where God met withMoses). Elijah met God face-to-face and then obeyed God’s direction to go back andcontinue what God had called him to do. In the same way, God can help us overcomediscouragement in our lives by finding the reasons to continue doing His work.
How to overcome discouragement
1. Remember there are seasons to everything
Abraham Lincoln told a story about an ancient king who asked his wise men tofind a saying that would always be applicable, no matter the situation. After muchsearching, the wise men presenting the king with a simple sentence: “And this, too, shall pass away.” The king paused to think about the statement, and then rewarded his wisemen for discovering a truth that was relevant in both good times and bad.When we are discouraged because of difficulties in life, we need to remember thatthe trouble will pass. God allows us to go through difficulties in order to help us grow asChristians, but He also gives us times of rest and refreshment. God can use any difficultyto teach and train us.
 Hebrews 12:10-11
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time,but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for thosewho have been trained by it 
 
2. Remember God will never leave nor forsake us
God will never leave nor forsake us in the midst of our trial. There is a popular Christian poem titled “Footprints in the Sand” that beautifully illustrates this truth.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,other times there was one only.This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could see only one set of  footprints, so I said to the Lord,"You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life,there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?" The Lord replied,"The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, mychild, is when I carried you." 
God is faithful to us and will be with us as we go through the storms and low points of life. He will never leave us or forsake us. We need to realize He is there, givingus support and protecting us, even in the midst of trials.In 2 Kings, the Bible tells the story of when the Arameans, who were enemies of the Israelites, came to capture Elisha, the prophet of God. The Aramean army surroundedthe city that Elisha was staying in during the night. Read the story below, then consider how Elisha trusted God when others might have been discouraged.
2 Kings 6:15-17 
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an armywith horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked."Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than thosewho are with them."  And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
3. Repent of our sin
Sometimes, when we are discouraged or feel distant from God, it is because thereis something in our life that is hindering us spiritually. If you read Isaiah 30, you can see

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Thank you for providing these lessons! :D
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Thank you for reading. For more lessons in the Overcoming Series, including on low self-esteem, loneliness, critical attitude, and resentment, go to http://www.scribd.com/collections/232.... God bless you.
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