Part 2: Persevering Through Discouragement

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Hate to break it to you… there is no blueprint for a perfect life. All of us have things in our lives that need to be restored. Feel like you’ve hit a wall or hit rock bottom? Don’t be discouraged. Maybe it’s just part of what God wants to help you rebuild.

This weekend, we talked about persevering through discouragement. Let’s first look at the causes of discouragement and then how to move forward when we face discouragement.


Today’s post is for anyone who feels discouraged. Maybe you are discouraged with your job situation, a relationship, your marriage, kids, parents or your faith.

We are back in the book of Haggai today. If you don’t know much about this book, take a look at last week’s post for the backstory.

“Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God.”  Haggai 1:13-14 

God stirred the Jewish people up! God stirred up the spirit of the governor, the high priest, and all the people. These people stopped doing what he asked them to do and God says “I am with you.” He took the initiative to get things going again. God cares about what you are doing. He will often stir up your spirit and give you hope to accomplish something that He has put on your mind and heart.

The people started building God an amazing temple. One month goes by, and they quit again. All the people gathered around the temple construction site and were discouraged. 

If we are honest, this happens in our lives too. We start something, and then flame out. What area it is for you? Is it getting out of debt? You start a budget and get a plan and then Christmas happens and you go back into debt. Maybe it’s your health. You go on a diet and then Cinco de Mayo happens and tacos happen so you tell yourself you can go on a diet later. What about the gym? Every January, everyone is there. By February, we’re in line at Krispy Kreme doing glazed donut arm curls!

God told Haggai to ask some questions to get to the root of everyone’s discouragement.

“‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?’”  Haggai 2:3 

Bible scholars estimate that Haggai was probably around seventy when he wrote this book. That means he would have been a teenager when they were in captivity. He would have been old enough to remember Solomon’s temple. He could see where their discouragement was coming from.


The Causes of Discouragement

  • Comparison

The Jewish people compared their start with Solomon’s finish. We can get incredibly discouraged when we start to compare our current situation with other people’s situation. Maybe you’ve compared your job, car, house or marriage with another person. It can be discouraging to see where someone else is in life and not be there.

You might be a parent and you find yourself comparing your kids accomplishments. If you want to get real discouraged, go look on Instagram and Facebook. When you compare all these different things you suddenly feel discouraged.

  • Lack of progress

The Jewish people are a month into building, and it is not going well. They are trying so hard, but not getting anywhere. We have all been there too. Maybe you have been eating healthy foods and not seeing the proof on the scale. Maybe for you it’s your lack of spiritual progress. You’ve been a Christian for years, but still struggle with a big sin.

It could be any number of things. Everyone lives with discouragement at some point. God gives the discouraged builders very simple instructions. Do you remember in last week’s post when the people said they didn’t know how to build a temple? God’s gave them very simple instructions. He gave them step 1, step 2, step 3. They just had to do what God told them to do, step-by-step.


When You Face Discouragement

God keeps it simple in this part of the story too. He talks first to the governor, then the high priest, and finally to all the people.

“‘But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”  Haggai 2:4 

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Notice he didn’t tell us to sit around and talk about it. He didn’t tell us to compare the results and if it is not good enough stop working. He said to be strong and do the work.

What if it’s not working? Consistently choose the hard right over the easy wrong. Consistently do the work. It’s easy to go home. It’s easy to say it’s hard and quit. It’s easy to say there’s not a lot of progress, but God says do the hard right.

Successful people do consistently what normal people do occasionally.

Be strong and keep praying, even when you don’t see results. Be strong and continue to open up God’s word, seek God daily, continue to do the hard right, even when you’re not getting anywhere. Be strong and continue to show up and exercise, even when the numbers are going the wrong way. Be strong and continue to pay-off your debt, even if it’s only ten dollars a month. Be strong and continue to love when other people are not loving in return. Be strong and show honor, even when the person over you is not acting honorably. Be strong and continue to love your spouse, even when your spouse is being unlovely.

 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9 

Why does God say be strong and do the work? At the end of Haggai 2:4 God says, “For I am with you,” 

Be strong and do the work. God is with you.

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”  Haggai 2:6-9

God said that the glory of the temple they were building will be greater than Solomon’s temple. How can that be? They had no idea that God was actually foreshadowing the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, people had to go to the temple and make a sacrifice in hopes of being right with God. The New Testament, God comes to you, and makes a sacrifice so you can be right with Him. Then the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Jesus being crucified and raising from the dead is the greater glory. The New Testament tells us that those who are followers of Jesus, are actually the temple of the Holy Spirit and your body is the house where God dwells.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”  1 Corinthians 3:16

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  Romans 8:11

Now, as a believer in Jesus Christ, you don’t have to be strong, and do the work in your own power. Do it in His power. He’s not only with you, He is in you.

“Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.”  1 John 4:4

Every time you serve someone, He’s being glorified. When you love someone, He’s being glorified. When you forgive someone, lift up His name or share your faith, He’s being glorified. That’s why you never have to be discouraged, you’re not alone. He’s with you. He’s in you.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

If you have never placed your faith in Jesus, then you can’t do the work yet. Your first step is to let Jesus do the work. 

“We’re saved by grace through faith and not by works.” Ephesians 2:8

We are not saved by works. If you are trying to get into heaven by works, it will never be good enough to get into heaven. Your smallest sin disqualifies you from heaven, and this is why God’s love is so amazing. He doesn’t make you go to the temple to make a sacrifice. He came to you. He sacrificed his son, Jesus. The Lamb of God, the final sacrifice. The sinless Son of God died in your place, but he didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead on the third day, so that anyone who calls on Jesus will be saved. All of your sins forgiven.

When you are saved, your body becomes the house for God. A temple for God to dwell. You don’t go to a building to experience God. God comes to you, he lives inside you and you experience Him daily. If you would like to accept this free gift, you can pray this today:

Jesus, I accept the work you did for me. Heavenly Father, forgive all my sins. Make me new. I believe Jesus came for me. He came to seek and save me, to die for me, so I could live strong and do the work you have for me to do. Fill me with Your Spirit so I can know You and serve You forever. My life is not my own. I give it all to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you made this decision, we would love to celebrate this decision with you, pray for you and give you resources about what to do with this new faith. You can email us at church@rockbrook.org.


Check Back

Let’s review the assignments you were given for Part 1: The Hard Right.

  • The way to get started on what God has called you to do, is to quit talking and start doing. 
  • In what area of your life are you making the decision to take a Hard Right?
  • What steps are you taking to lay a foundation for your decision?
  1. Go to the mountain.
  2. Bring down the timber.
  3. Build my house.

To hear the sermon online, go to rockbrook.org/sermons or listen to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music.

Hear the Word

Read:

  • Haggai 1:13-14
  • Haggai 2:3-4, 6-9
  • Galatians 6:9
  • Romans 8:11
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16
  • 1 John 4:4

View videos in Rightnow Media or YouVersion App by Tim Makie’s Read Scripture Series, Haggai and Ezra –Nehemiah

The Causes of Discouragement

  1. Comparisons
  2. Lack of progress

Persevere Through It

  1. Be strong
  2. Do the work

Application

  • What part of the message is still moving you?
  • Why do you think God starts by telling His people that He’s with them?
  • Which is more discouraging to you: comparison or lack of progress? How does it play out for you? 
  • What is something you’ve thought about quitting?
  • Are you better at identifying the changes you need to make or actually doing the work to make changes?
  • What do you feel keeps you from being strong and doing the work you need to do to get past discouragement?
  • When you’re feeling fully alive and successful, what’s consistently different about your life? How can you do more of that?
  • What have you started and maybe stopped or paused? How will you press on with God to be strong and do the work?

Tell Someone Else

Who in your life is discouraged? Sharing the work that God is doing in your life is one of the best ways to solidify that work in your own heart.  It is also one of the most effective forms of sharing the Gospel with someone.

 

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