From Discouragement to Faith and ConfidenceI’ve run into several things over the past couple of months that seem to have the same theme. That typically means God is trying to teach me something.

I read an article about never-ever-ever giving up, never-ever-ever quitting – even if you’ve been knocked down and it would seem all hope is lost. It was a powerfully written piece that stuck with me. It was an article about self defense, not our walk with the Lord.

A short time later I was watching Olympics coverage of the men’s gymnastics team. They were falling apart. The announcer began to talk about a basketball coach he had interviewed. This basketball coach repeatedly said “I’m training them for the thunderbolt.” Yes, he would drill on layups and foul shots, but he saw his primary function as “training them for the thunderbolt.” That is – training them what to do when the worst happens.

A few days later I went to a walk-thru at a commercial printer’s facility. It was their opportunity to teach us a bit about the printing industry and talk about their capabilities. One of the speakers made a statement followed by this insightful question: “Mistakes happen. The key question is what systems and processes do you have in place for recovery?”

I’m sensing a theme.

I think sometimes I am too easily discouraged. Maybe you are too. I think some times I give up too soon. Perhaps it’s because I’ve not trained for the thunderbolt. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the proper systems and processes in place to move beyond discouragement into faith and confidence.

Because quitting too soon, my friend, is a sign of weak faith. Let’s look at a famous faith verse:

Faith is the confidence, assurance and substance of things hoped for – things we confidently expect to happen. It is the conviction and evidence of things not yet seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (expanded translation using NLT, NASB, NKJV, NRSV and Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary)

When we face discouragement, there are (at least) five specific actions we can take to travel beyond that discouragement toward the faith that pleases God. We’ll look at those five actions in upcoming blogs.

Before we get to any of the actions, though, the first and perhaps most important thing for us to do is to decide that this is the time to keep moving – not to make discouragement a stop along the road. It’s time to change our destination – and that means changing our expectations. It’s time to expect to win and have the attitude that we’re in the game until we win. We’re to never-ever-ever give up. Christ assures us of the victory

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
1 John 4:4 (NLT)

If we don’t make this critical first decision, we’ll never take the five specific actions that will move us toward faith and confidence. If we don’t recognize that our steering wheel is taking the exit ramp into discouragement valley (which is just a stop on the road to depression) and put a stake in the ground and say “No! Not on my watch! Not this time! That exit ramp is closed!” we won’t see the victory we’re promised.

A few days after the walk-thru at the printer’s facility, I read a blog that encouraged…you guessed it…expecting victory. Check it out here. Then stay tuned for the five specific things you can do to move from discouragement to faith.

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