“Step up to the Plate”, Part 3
March 7th 2016
I recently wrote about a prophetic word the Lord had given me. He said, “It’s time to step up to the plate.” I encouraged each one of us that now was the time to activate those dreams we’ve had.
I’ve identified three conditions of the heart that can keep us from stepping up to the plate. They are: the Passive Heart, the Discouraged Heart, and the Captive Heart. You may find yourself in one, or all three of these places, but the good news is you don’t have to stay there! Today, I’m going to write about the Discouraged Heart.
In Isaiah 61:3, we read the wonderful passage of the “insteads”:
“giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a spirit of fainting…”
The spirit of fainting can also be translated as being discouraged. We get discouraged when the fight goes on longer that what we had planned. Or the healing takes longer than what we hoped for. Or our loved one is still not walking in fellowship with God even though we’ve prayed for many, many years.
Our faith must not be in the outcome of our prayers, but in the character and integrity of who God is.
I’ve counseled people who were at the point of giving up on God because their prayers weren’t answered. They prayed, fasted, declared, and decreed as much as humanly possible, and yet the situation hadn’t changed.
Their heart became discouraged because they were putting their faith and hope in the outcome. Then, when their prayers didn’t produce the outcome they expected, they became discouraged. When we pray, our confidence must rest in who God will be for us in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
We had a very difficult situation that lasted for many years when our daughters weren’t walking in fellowship with God and were living a very dangerous lifestyle. (They have since come back to Him, and they gave me permission to share this story.)
I made bargains with God thinking that the situation would change if I fasted enough. I repented of anything and everything, wondering if there was some unconfessed sin in my life that had caused the situation. I prayed and read my Bible and tried to show God that I would do ANYTHING if only He would change the situation.
Hadn’t we followed the “Ten Steps to Raising Godly Children”? Maybe there was an eleventh step that we hadn’t been taught. Maybe we didn’t meet enough for family devotion times; maybe we had TOO many family devotion times. Maybe we disciplined them too strongly; maybe we didn’t discipline them enough.
All of my strategies went out the window, and then I reached the place of complete grace, acceptance, and trust. I came to the place where I should have been all along. I realized that my faith and my hope needed to be in who God could be for our children and who He would be for us. I knew, without a doubt, that when they called to them that He would come running. My faith was in His character, not in receiving the answer to my prayers.
Of course, even when our faith is placed firmly in God, we can also become discouraged when the fight rages for a long time. It’s exhausting to always be in “fight mode.” At those times, He comes to us in comfort and strength, and He gives us brothers and sisters to help us to carry on and not “lose heart.”
In Latin, the word for “heart” is “cor” from where we get our word “courage.” When we get dis-couraged, we are actually losing heart. Of course, God knows just where we can find our heart.
If you have a Discouraged Heart, ask God to bring comfort and strength to you, because He is the Great En-courager who restores our heart.
Be strong! Take Courage! Don’t ever give up!
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