Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Let's Talk About Discouragement

by Dr. Wilfred A. Bellamy

Over the years, in the service of my Lord, I have often had a reason to be discouraged. My hopes and aspirations, my "best laid schemes", may not have worked as I had wished. My long range plans, so carefully crafted and expressed, have not always transpired, and I have been given cause to wonder "what is wrong with me?" ... I am not doing very well. Then I ask "am I doing my best?" ... and often I am, as far as I understand it,  but even so the results don't flow and I wonder why some appear to enjoy such success and I feel like I am not making much progress.

It has been in comparatively recent time that I have come to the conclusion that God is not in the business of meeting my goals. I have read what others have written about methods and techniques, ideas and consequences, and sometimes I have sought to fashion myself according to them, but never completely. I have heard of their abounding fruitfulness and unparalleled success and concluded that they must have had some special revelation that I have not. 

It is then, when I begin to ponder, that I hear the gracious reminder that "my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways." I am arrested! ... pulled up short and rebuked. I have subliminally believed that if I am careful and sincere God will honor my goals. I now know that is not the case -- I must honor His.

So as I search on,  the Word of God insists that the priorities that He dictates must become my priorities. If He says that my personal relationship with Him is paramount, Jesus is all in all to me, that the Holy Spirit indwells me and will sustain me, then I must nurture and foster the relationship and tend it carefully never taking it for granted.. If prayer is the first and most vital component of the Christian life, then I must not only believe it so but make it so. If building up the Body of Christ, is important, then I must focus first on that responsibility before I consider any further endeavor. If reaching out to the unsaved that they may be gathered in is high on the agenda, then I must rest in the assurance that this is His work and that He will bring it to pass through His people and not necessarily through me.

A further word here and I'm done. We have been trained to think that prayer, meditation, even teaching, are all passive -- somewhat incidental and, let's admit it, ordinary. So the idea of a stirring stimulating exciting adventurous ('new and improved') activity is to be preferred. So we aim for it, prepare for it and go to it with a new enthusiasm. We are sometimes promised a finite result -- "if you do this the right way, this will happen" ... and when we don't see that fulfilled we blame ourselves. There was nothing wrong with the program, it must be us! We are discouraged. No wonder. But do we ever ask if our goals were His goals or if we simply asked Him to endorse ours because we sincerely believed them to be worthy?

"Lord, in the simplicity of my life, I humbly ask that I be enabled to release my personal ambitions, to submit them all to you, and ask in exchange that you will "take my will and make it Thine," that Jesus may be seen to be Lord of my life and that I desire nothing more than that He be lifted up, above all.

Wilfred  A. Bellamy, Ph.D.

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