Written by Erin Allen
A friend recently asked me how I stay encouraged as I listen to heartbreaking losses and the results of sin in the lives of people. There are several practical suggestions I shared with her that have helped me to not allow the sins of others to trip me up. But the reality is, we all go through periods of discouragement. I have had deeply sad and depressing times when faithful believers deny Jesus and walk away from Him and from me. How can we cope with the waves of sadness that life brings and not allow them to take root in us?
The book of 2 Timothy speaks directly to this topic. As I read it, my eyes were drawn to how many people Paul mentioned by name that had walked away from the faith. Paul wrote this letter to lift Timothy’s heart and encourage him to keep the faith no matter what happened, or who walked away, or how ugly things became. Here is a short summary of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy. I pray these truths run deep in the discouraged places of your heart today.
In chapter 1 Paul reminds Timothy of his GODLY HERITAGE, specifically the faith of his mother and grandmother. Whether we have a bloodline of godly heritage or not, in Jesus we find a godly heritage, as we have been grafted into the family of God. Paul exhorts Timothy to be confident, UNASHAMED of his faith. In 1:13 Paul encourages Timothy to HOLD FAST to the doctrines Paul has taught him.
In chapter 2 Paul begins with the words BE STRONG in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. As Moses encouraged Joshua, so Paul encourages Timothy, and I encourage you- BE STRONG in the grace of Jesus. Keep going, teach others and surround yourself with a healthy community that will hold you up when you are weak. Be willing to endure even when others do not (2:15-19).
In chapter 3 Paul explains the last days and reminds Timothy that all sorts of sin will run rampant. He reminds Timothy that he will SUFFER PERSECUTION. But CONTINUE, do not lose heart, be faithful, remember your heritage, the WORD is your anchor.
Paul concludes the book by speaking of how “all forsook me… But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me”. Paul recognized that God’s will would be done whether he was cooperating with God or not. He wanted to be a part of the will of God being fulfilled on the earth. He gained strength straight from the Lord when everyone had forsaken him.
God’s Word provides a roadmap of encouragement to our hearts! If we allow discouragement to settle in, we will miss out on God’s purposes being fulfilled through us. May we not miss out on the gift of the presence and strength of God when we are alone and discouraged. Take heart, Jesus overcame it all, and He will help us overcome!
Be encouraged today.
Keep the Faith.