New Hope Notes
Things We Must Do For Ourselves
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Previously we discussed disciplining yourself, humbling yourself and checking yourself to make sure you are right with God. Today we are going to discuss the 4th and last of this series which is to encourage yourself.
David was forced to encourage himself when he was faced with a devastating setback. As the Bible says, “And it came to pass, when David and his men returned, they found that the Amalekites had invaded Ziklag and burned it with fire; and they took the women captives and carried them away. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they could weep no more. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, for the people were grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters … but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam. 30:1-6).
Ever felt all alone? For example, like alone and sick in a hospital when no one visits? We all go through seasons like that. Before you give up, try to turn that curse into a blessing. The Bible says that evil can turn into good if we let God in. Most of us, when trapped in a terrible situation, simply want rescue out of that situation. But God may want us to be refined first rather than only rescued. He may be using the situation to make us better instead of bitter and to bring us closer to Him instead of having us drift further away. God’s main goal in these trying times is to bring us closer to Him. He wants us to depend on Him for the solution rather than simply relying on ourselves because man made solutions could be worse than the problem. The book of James reminds us that every good and gift comes from God and so He will be the source of eternal encouragement. So for your encouragement, immediately …
1. RENEW YOUR HEART TO GOD.
In other words, bring your heart closer to God. This is God’s primary goal and so should be yours, also. You have to have faith that God will provide all that you need. It is your responsibility to remove any obstacle between you and God. We cannot move forward until that is done. Our primary goal may be our rescue but God wants to correct something in us. He may be using that season of isolation as an antidote whatever flaw that needs repair in us. Before we go further with our problem marriage or easily tempted heart, God wants us to draw near to Him again. As it is written, “God left him alone to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart” 2 Chr. 32:31).
God may want to fix our hearts. He knows when our hearts are about to lead us into disaster. We may complain that fixing our hearts is not worth losing our jobs or money but scripture says, “What profits a man to gain the whole world only to lose his soul?” Most important to God is that we live authentic lives. Nothing happens to you that has not passed God’s desk. We cannot control what happens to us, but if we react rightly we will be better for it and God promises to use the situation for the good. We can be angry or we can ask, “Why me?” But we should always remember that we cannot always choose the cards we are dealt, we can only choose how we play our cards. Life is only 10% what happens to us. 90% of life is what we choose to do about it. Either our character will be forged or it will flag.
Seasons of isolation can be defining moments for our lives. When did you grow the most, on the mountain top or in valley? When you were busy or quiet? No matter what your challenge is, someone in the Bible has already done it so we can learn from them.
Another thing to remember is to …
· BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND.
When there is no one else to do so, encourage yourself. As David said, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” (Ps. 42:11). Don’t we like to follow and be around cheerleading and encouraging type of people? Be your own best friend. Let your own mind be your friend by having it tell you encouraging positive things instead of negative ones. The Bible puts it this way, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things … and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9). When you do reflect on these things, the God of peace will be with you. It almost seems that when you are thinking rightly, even God wants to keep you company.
There was a little boy who was trying to encourage himself by saying, “I’m the best batter in the world!” and then tossing a ball into the air and swinging at it. He missed three times, though. So he then said, “I’m the best pitcher in the world!” So when the bottom falls out, do not give up. Renew your heart with God and press in close to Him. David did just that,“David turned to Abiathar the priest, ‘Bring me the ephod!’ So Abiathar brought it. ‘Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?’ And He said to him, ‘Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all.’” David pressed in close to God, listened to what God had to say and then his family was rescued. So …
2. REFLECT ON WHAT GOD IS TEACHING YOU.
It does not matter how many mistakes you make as long as you learn from each of them. Instead of constantly beating yourself up over your error, take your mistake and squeeze every lesson out of it. Then put that mistake behind you. Always learn wisdom from mistakes. The cost may be high but the worst is paying a high price but not getting anything in return for it. Surrender to God, not your circumstances. Surrender to God what must be changed. The final step in encouraging yourself is to …
What are you going to do? Make changes and make them permanent. Ask yourself how you will be different today because of the lessons you learned from your mistakes.
God wants you to take His promises and run with them. As you drive through life, use the windshield and not the rearview mirror. Remember, God promises, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer. 29:11). God is saying the each day is a new day so step into it. Use His words to encourage you. He says that He will never leave you or give up on you so do not give up on yourself. So when we feel isolated, we should renew our hearts with God, reflect on His teachings and good things and respond positively to the situation.
· DON’T FORGET WHAT YOU’VE BEEN TAUGHT!
You will be a better person if you keep those lessons in your heart. A life of faith is based on obedient action. A life of fear is based on avoiding action. Follow through on your actions. God put you in your challenging situation to change you for the better. He made you lean on Him instead of others. If you remember and apply God’s lessons from these seasons of isolation, you will be a better person and you will thank God for them. So remember, discipline yourself, humble yourself, check yourself and finally encourage yourself.
In seasons of trouble and isolation, we should encourage ourselves by renewing our hearts to God. We should be our own best friend. Then we should reflect on what God is teaching us through these challenging times. Finally, we should respond or take action according to what we have learned from God and we should never forget these lessons.