How can one rejoice when they are experiencing numerous trials and tribulations? Is this possible to do? It is possible if you are walking in the Spirit. If you are suffering from discouragement, however, this verse in 1 Peter seems “out there”! This verse seems like an impossible task.
Everyone I have spoken with who has suffered from discouragement at one time or another has admitted that they are guilty of two things: (1) focusing their thoughts on their problem, and (2) not being in the Word as they should. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:8 ) What are you sowing, Christian? Step back and look at your life – the results of sowing will appear in what you are reaping. Discouragement is not a fruit of the Spirit. The Word says that the fruit of the Spirit is: :… love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23) I don’t see discouragement in this list, do you?
Since the Word says that these are the fruit of the Spirit, it stands to reason that no sowing is being done in these areas to reap these fruit. Christian, examine yourself. If you can get to the root of this discouragement in your life, you will overcome it. The Word is our guide – the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. I know I sound like a broken record but, “Get in the Word”! Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11) If you’re not reaping to the Spirit, then you are reaping to the flesh. There is nothing good in the flesh. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: …(Rom 7:18 ) Therefore, if you are reaping to the flesh it stands to reason you are not in the Word for the Lord tells us that if we hide the Word in our hearts (through reading and memorizing), we will not sin against Him. Since discouragement is not one of the fruit of the Spirit, it is a work of the flesh and is sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
It is easier to understand now how Paul could rejoice through numerous trials. Paul walked in the Spirit and the Word encouraged his heart. How else could he be singing with Silas in prison at midnight (Acts 16:25)? If anyone had the right to be discouraged, it would be Paul and Silas – but yet they were found singing! When was the last time you felt like singing in the wee hours of the morning while you were discouarged? Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (1 Pet 1:6) The Book of Psalms is filled with encouraging verses. Our Heavenly Father knew we needed these – He placed those words there just for you! Read Psalms 84, 121, 139 to name a few.
What a tremendous testimony you would have and the ability to help others through their discouragement if you would allow the Spirit of God to dwell in you and encourage your heart the same way He did Paul and Silas. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13) Yes, that’s right – help others! There’s nothing like a good dose of doing for others to help us take our eyes off our own circumstances. God allows trials in our lives for a reason – it is to mold us into His image and then we take what we have learned and try to help someone else. Why would someone who is discouraged listen to someone who has never been through it? How would they know?
A Christian with the purpose of helping someone else to overcome discouragement is a Christian who is in the Word daily and has taken his eyes off his own circumstances. This same Christian is walking in the Spirit and reaping the fruit of the Spirit. Won’t you take that first step in this walk?