Intro: Discouragement—a response to something we have hoped for but has not manifest—always seeks to diminish the believer’s confident trust in God. The word discouragement comes from the root word courage. It is the enemy who releases a spirit of discouragement to tempt us to set aside our trust in the only One who can fulfill our hopes. We can lose our courage when we face things that seem insurmountable; but that is the very time we must remember God’s faithfulness and the promises he has given us.
We can also become discouraged when we place our hopes in the responses of people; sometimes we want recognition or the attention of people who ignore or minimize us. We cannot place our hope in people the way we can in God; people may mean well but still wrestle a sin nature. God is holy and can be completely trusted, so let’s keep God the focus of our hope.
There are many places in Scripture where God reminds his genuine worshipers to take courage in his promises, because discouragement is a warning light for us to ask the Spirit to stoke the fire in our souls (Ps 27:14; 31:24; 2 Chronicles 32:7; Deuteronomy 31:6). Believers obediently serve Christ whether or not there are quick answers or instant gratification. Whether we find ourselves on the spiritual mountaintop or in the darkest valley, God is with us ready to supply the resources of heaven as we activate our faith in the Truth.
In our passage, today, from Paul’s letter to Timothy, we are reminded to celebrate the life Christ has given us through the resurrection. Believers can know new life in the salvation that comes from God; a life with focus, wisdom, direction, and power…a courageous life connected to God through the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul courageously places his trust in Christ as he suffers in prison and as he faces his death. He calls Timothy to remain confident in Christ and follow his example of trust. Paul wants Timothy to remember the Spirit and Truth entrusted to him is a precious treasure to be guarded. May you have courage, today!
2 Timothy 1:12-13 NLT
12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
Prayer: Lord, if Paul, through the power of the Spirit, can remain courageous during his unjust imprisonment and threat of death, we can cast down the discouragement that tries to sway us from keeping our trust in you. Whether we face uplifting times or defeating times, we will stay focused on your holy nature and promises. Holy Spirit, for those who are struggling to fight off discouragement today, please stir their souls with faith, hope, and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.