Victory Over Discouragement!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

One of the great challenges in any person’s life, Christian or not, is to try to stay upbeat when the circumstances of life are trying to beat you down. Many people (myself included,) know how to put on a good face when life is a struggle. In my 14 year airline career, I would often fly on 747, an aircraft with about 400 plus seats. I enjoyed the job of greeting people as they boarded the aircraft so I would frequently stand at what was called the boarding door. I’d put on a big smile and greet all 400 plus people on the way in and say good-bye and thank them for joining us on the way out. There were occasions were I did this twice in one day. Sometimes my face hurt from smiling so much. I think I built up pretty good facial “smile muscles” if there is such a thing.

Now I’m just like anyone else. I’ve had days where things have gone less than desirable creating a crack for discouragement to creep in. But, I’ve always hated when discouragement tried to control me and ruin my day. On one of those days, the Holy Spirit illuminated a verse that hit me so powerfully, that from that day forward, it helped me turn discouragement on its head!

The Lord spoke to me through this verse and it also revolutionized my walk with God. It says, “Life itself was in Jesus, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:4-5)

I didn’t like feeling discouraged. Obviously Jesus didn’t either. It says, “Life was in Him and this life gives light to everyone.” I wanted to be filled with His light-giving life. Jesus wasn’t the picture of despair. He was the picture of one who brought truth, love, hope, and encouragement to everyone. He was like a light in a dark place. The verse continues saying exactly that. “The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”   

I made those word my own and a foundational part of my prayer and focus of being an influence to this world for God. Darkness can never extinguish the life and light of God in me! If I kept my heart full of the promises of God’s word, then hope, love, and encouragement would come out my mouth! I would shine with light and darkness could never extinguish it. God’s promises take discouragement to the wrestling mat of our mind and rise in hope and victory every time! And the funny thing is, when you don’t let struggles and discouragement overcome you, they quickly become smaller.

This beats being downcast or depressed. This beats wearing plastic smiles. This is the smile of God. Job understood and often spoke of the goodness of God despite negatives in His life. Discouragement could not extinguish God’s light in Job’s life. It created favor and influence! It created substance behind his smile. He understood its power and influence. He said “When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.” Job 29:24  

Smiling was something required in my job. That was okay because smiling is something wonderful! Sincere smiles are a light that shines. And when there is the substance of God behind that smile, they become life-giving—the “life that gives light to everyone.”  What a revelation! My feelings were to be governed by God’s Word and promise—not by discouragement and circumstances. And as I carried God’s hope, promise, love and encouragement in my heart, I could be like Jesus, the one who “gives light to everyone.” Put the light of Jesus behind your smile today!

John 6:63 (NIV) “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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