Strategically Strengthening Your Spirit in the Middle of Maddening Chaos

by | Jan 20, 2017 | Woman

David, the great Old Testament figure, was no stranger to discouragement, fatigue, fear, confusion, doubt, bad decisions and second chances. Like refreshing rain on parched ground, his raw humanity, disarming transparency and persevering pursuit of God give us encouragement in the occasional, even frequent, valleys of our own lives.

In one of the strangest chapters of his journey, running from Saul with his band of disenfranchised loyalists, David lived for 16 months in the territory of one of Israel’s fiercest enemies. He enjoyed the protection of the Philistines and even joined them in the fight against Saul and his armies. During this season, the Philistine King, Achish, gave David the town of Ziklag as his home base.

One day while going out to war with the Philistines, David and his men were required to return home to Ziklag. The Philistine generals were not too comfortable with the presence of David and his men in their ranks. Upon returning to Ziklag, they discovered that the nomadic aggressors, the Amalekites, had destroyed Ziklag and taken all the women and children hostage—somewhere. 

Read the following passage and sense the deep emotion of the moment:

“David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6, AMPC).

Finding Encouragement in Discouraging Moments

Discouragement is a temporary loss of perspective, usually incited by an emotionally difficult circumstance. Conversely, encouragement is a recapturing of proper perspective, granted by the Lord in accordance with His wisdom and truth. Paul testified of this very encouragement that New Testament believers experience in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:3-7).

Somehow, in the midst of David’s miserable tragedy, the Bible indicates he was able to encourage and strengthen himself in the Lord. We are not told how he did this, but we can glean some ideas that might just help us today in the midst of our own discouragements. Here are four basic points of perspective.

The Situation is Seldom as Bad as it Seems

David and his men returned to a city that was burned to the ground and families that had disappeared. Our God-given power of imagination is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it can conjure up unrealistic scenarios and conclusions. In David’s case, he and his men were eventually able to rout the Amalekites and retrieve their family members unharmed. Yet, in the moment, the combined chemistry of emotion and imagination created a flash point of horror.

One of my elders once said, “Emotions have no brains.” Although they are a helpful enhancement to life, emotion can spin us into a pit of overblown despair. Today, as you face a difficult moment in a relationship, a circumstance that seems overwhelming or a personal struggle that is defeating you, seek the Lord’s help to think clearly. Embrace His gift of hope to look beyond the present moment to the possible positive outcomes.

We are Not Defined by People or Circumstances

David’s men (600 of them) suddenly morphed from friends to enemies. One moment they were following him in the calm waters of everyday life. The next, they were ready to stone him after encountering the storm. But David did not allow himself to be defined by the fickle and intense emotions of his men. Instead, he turned to the Lord.

Too many times, our sense of identity and well-being is triggered by the opinions and attacks of people. Our security is frequently threatened by difficult circumstances. We need to understand that our true identity was settled at the cross. The noise of the crowd, the attack of friends, and the put-downs of family may tell us we are bad, worthless, defective, inferior, and rejected. The truth of our new life in Jesus Christ says we are loved, accepted, empowered, secure, righteous, valuable and destined for an eternal reward. We have to choose the voice we will listen to. When we choose rightly, we live a secure and hopeful existence. 

The Presence of the Lord is Our Assurance

As David strengthened himself in the Lord, he turned to God’s presence. This is the significance of the term, “in the Lord.” He turned from the situation and the prattle of the crowd to the presence of the Lord. This was confirmed by the next verse: “Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, ‘Please bring the ephod here to me.'” The ephod was the garment of the priests and often a key to knowing God’s direction. David understood the empowering presence of the Lord.

David wrote, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11a). He also affirmed, “May my sentence go out from Your presence; may your eyes see rightly” (Psalm 17:2).

When we are discouraged, it is common to turn to other people, television or some kind of escape. This is folly and usually provides a temporary anesthesia but not a solution or real deliverance. We must take time, make it a focus and rest in the reality of a triumphant, indwelling Christ through meaningful prayer and His Word.

Positive Obedient Action Dispels Negative Emotion

In seeking the Lord’s direction, David asked the priest, “‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ The priest answered, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all'” (1 Samuel 30:7-8).

As the story unfolds, David and his men eventually overtake the Amalekites, safely retrieve their loved ones, and recover all of their goods, and then some. David did not fall into the subjective “sit, soak, and sour” mode. He moved ahead in faith, obeying the promise of the Lord.

I’ve heard it said that when you are going through a dark valley—don’t stop. Each of us must embrace the proven promises and powerful provision of the Lord. We may not feel like it. We may not have any sense of certainty about the outcome. Still, we do have trust. We know our Christ knows the way, shows the way and goes the way with us. This too shall pass as we move ahead in His grace. He rewards the obedient, strengthens the weak, guides the confused and fulfills His word.

So today, my friend, encourage yourself in Jesus. It is possible and brings meaning to our madness and glory to our God, regardless of our circumstances. {eoa}

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Renewal. Copyright ©2017 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.  

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although most churches have not returned to their pre-pandemic attendance...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Recently while in worship, I was talking to the Lord when this prophetic flow began to come forth. I took out my phone and pressed record. This is the transcription of that word I received: "God, I see the firebrands rising up. God, I see the firebrands rising up. I...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of...
Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009. Not eating sugar...

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

I was walking along one of my favorite beaches, and it was turtle season. Early each morning, park services ride along the beach looking for new sea turtle nests. They record the nest's location, place stakes and rope off the location so that people do not disturb the...

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Soul ties form when we act in accordance with the flesh when developing or growing in a relationship with another person. This could be any relationship formed or grown out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, pride, loneliness, doubt and the like. Soul ties can develop...

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

This pandemic season hasn’t been easy—but pastors have suffered in unique ways. Statistics show that between 20-30% of churchgoers stopped attending in 2020, and the bulk of those people have not returned. In many cases, they never said goodbye. Many of my best...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]