Be Encouraged In Your Faith
One of the things I have learned over the years is that not everyone close to you will always be rooting for you. It’s a sad truth—not everyone who stood next to me in a prayer circle was actually in agreement with my request.
How did I learn to overcome this? What did I do to keep my faith and my hopes up even though it seemed like everyone around me was full of doubt?
John 16:33 tells us that we will have trouble:
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Isn’t that exciting? Sure, you know ahead of time that you might face trouble as you walk this earth but even when that happens, Jesus tells us to be of good cheer—some versions of the Bible say to be filled with joy. Why would Christ tell us to be joyful or cheerful while we are faced with tribulations? Look at the second part of that scripture:
I have overcome the world.
The reason we are to be encouraged or filled with joy is because our troubles have already been taken care of by Jesus. Christ has overcome the world—He did this over 2000 years ago on the Cross at Calvary. So, no matter what you are facing, you can face it with a smile knowing that you are going to come out on top.
Well … now that you have a scripture to pray when you’re faced with a trial, let’s go back to the original question:
How can I keep my faith and hopes up when everyone around me is full of doubt?
Have you recently decided to put your faith toward a certain dream or goal? Have you had a new desire drop in your heart that you’re now believing and thanking God for? Let’s say it’s a new job; you have a list of scriptures you want to pray, you’ve got a week-long fast planned out, and you’re listening to Christ-filled sermons and music in your free time. Everything in your spiritual life seems to be heading in the right direction—you’re so excited that you sit down and share your new hopes with your friends or family. But instead of being greeted with excitement, your friends frown and say; that’s a tough one. I don’t know if God will give you a promotion so fast. You’re asking for a lot, but God is good.
While this is certainly a heartbreaking thing to experience, I can tell you that it happens far too often. As a Believer, I know that I am different from those in the world. I don’t expect my worldly friends to see things the way I do; I don’t expect my unsaved family members to understand the world the way I do—so when I share my faith with them, I am not surprised nor dismayed by their disbelief and/or doubt. But when I open up and share my faith, hopes, and dreams with my fellow Christians, I expect to be met with agreement and encouragement. Unfortunately, there are times when I am met with doubt which makes me feel discouraged.
I remember having this discussion with my pastor before and her advice to me is exactly what my advice to you will be; you’ve got to encourage yourself. Do not depend on others for your joy, faith, or encouragement. Sometimes the people closest to you will be the ones standing in your way. That isn’t the time to be angry with them or to begin doubting God—sometimes our stumbling blocks help make us stronger, sometimes doubt from others forces us to dig deeper in our faith. So don’t blame the people around you who may be casting their doubt on your dreams, understand that sometimes this doubt is just another trial for you to overcome.
When I talked to my pastor about all the disbelief being thrown my way, she directed me to King David—a man after God’s own heart. During this struggle in my life, I began reading over David’s story in the Bible; I realized that the Book of Psalms is filled with scriptures of encouragement. King David wasn’t always a king; before he became the blessed and anointed leader we all love and remember, David was a mere shepherd boy but he kept the promises of God written on his heart and never allowed himself to doubt what he knew would happen in his life. Imagine how hard it was to see himself as a king while he was living on the run from King Saul—sleeping in caves, camping out with his men. No one around him saw him as a king, no one thought he would ever grow up to become such a wonderful ruler—there must have been so many times where David said to himself; maybe I got it wrong. Maybe I misheard the prayer on Samuel’s lips. What kind of king has to live like this? Maybe God has forgotten about me.
Even though those thoughts might have crossed David’s mind, he didn’t allow himself to be overtaken by them. Instead of dwelling on his surroundings or on the negativity of others, David meditated on the Word of God.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalms 63:6-8 NIV
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Psalms 119:148 NIV
I love these scriptures so much because they don’t just talk about meditating on the Word but also on the promises of God. David says that his eyes stay open through the watches of the night. Do you know what that means? It means he spent endless nights without sleep, praying and meditating on what the Lord had promised him.
Sometimes your friends aren’t going to support your dreams. Sometimes your family isn’t going to tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to. But you know who will?
The Word of God says, I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT
While your friends or family may not think you can accomplish your dreams, you have a Father in heaven who has already done the work for you—all you have to do is believe. My friend, remember that your goals, hopes, and dreams are YOUR goals, hopes, and dreams. So you have to have the faith—you have to encourage yourself—you have to get down on your knees and meditate and pray and push through to victory in Jesus’ name. Don’t depend on anyone to encourage or agree with you when you begin to proclaim the promises of God. Just know that Christ is on your side. He is always on your side, rooting for you, cheering for you, and working on your behalf—even when you don’t see Him, feel Him, or hear from Him, know that God is for you. Always for you [Romans 8:31].