(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)
C. S. Lewis has a quote that says, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
Me neither, Mr. Lewis. Me neither.
Christianity has been the most costly experience I have ever given my “yes” to, and though I have occasional thoughts that it may not be worth the sacrifice, the pain, and giving up everything I am for Jesus and His Kingdom. Deep down, I know I have never been more sure about anything than the fact that He is the only thing I want to live my every second for.
No one and nothing else come close when compared to Him. I hope you have the same desire in your heart and life.
Here’s the thing though. People tend to think that if that’s the case, and I’m so sure eternity is worth everything, then it must mean I never feel discouraged, and that Christians are just on this constant “Christian kick”. In fact, many American Churches make it seem as if discouragement is a form of sin, and that there’s no reason we should be disappointed or discouraged.
They probably just haven’t read the book of Psalms yet.
I will say, I do think discouragement becomes a sin only if you let it beat you and break you and stop you from maturing in the faith (James 1:2-4). But, what about the few who don’t?
Have you ever heard someone say, “It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, it only matters what you are doing”? In some respects, I agree with that statement. You should, as Scripture tells us, die to yourself, carry your cross, and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24-26). You are the only one that can make those choices for yourself. True Christians are most certainly harder on themselves than they are on others. However, Jesus cared deeply for those around Him, for His disciples, for the crowds, for the children.
He cared so much that He died for them. He died for us.
The reason you may be discouraged often is not because you take this “Jesus thing” way too seriously, as some would put it, or because you think you have all the “right” answers to every spiritual question but no one will listen. It’s because you care. You care about people’s souls, and the reality that death results in spending eternity in one of two places: Heaven or Hell.
Please, I beg you, friend, don’t apologize for being discouraged because you care like Jesus. Because who people are and what they do DOES matter in the spiritual realm!
It’s ok to mourn the fact that you have friends around you that are so lost. It’s ok to get on your knees and plead with God to reveal Himself to the Church and usher in a revival that brings us back to where we left Him. It’s ok to not understand why that one addict can’t just give it up. It’s ok to feel sick when you start thinking about how it’s ruining their life and their family.
Discouragement is a beautiful part of the Christian life because it’s the natural result of caring, of loving, of wanting people to experience who Jesus is and what He can do in the life of someone who surrenders all the control they thought they had but never really did.
What would make us run into the arms of Jesus constantly and consistently if not for the feeling of discouragement that we can’t address on our own?
Psalm 61:2 says, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
It is true that the Christian life is not a constant high, and what matters more than anything else is where we run when we have feelings we can’t deal with on our own. You see, discouragement is a beautiful part of the Christian life only because God uses it to bring us closer to Himself. He helps soften our hearts to feel what He feels, and it is in that moment, when we feel what He feels, that we can best care, love, and serve.
So, discouraged Christian, you care. Don’t apologize for it.
“Courage, dear heart.” – C. S. Lewis
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= Do you believe God can use discouragement to bring us closer to Himself?
= What are you going to do differently?