I get discouraged.
I don’t let it bother me when I get discouraged. Forgetting helps me overcome discouragement. Discouragement can be a downward spiral.
I’m discouraged. Oh no, I’m discouraged. Something must be wrong with me since I’m discouraged. I’m really discouraged now. No way I can be a Christian. This discouragement won’t go away. Where is Jesus when I’m discouraged? I’m really, really, really discouraged now.
The first verse of scripture that I memorized in early 1972 was Romans 13:14.
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh according to its lusts. (NASB71)
For 50 years, I’ve let this verse cleanse my mind daily. Literally, when I take a shower in the morning, I go over it.
I have found it to be the Swiss Army knife of verses.
It has a tool, meaning, or help for every temptation that comes from the flesh. It has helped me with sensuality, pride, fear, desire for more things, arguments, someone else getting the last aisle seat on a plane – and discouragement!
How does this verse work?
Understand the Greek word for “put.” A very simple word in the English, but a Swiss Army knife of meaning in the Greek. It means “sink into.” Paul uses it throughout his letters – put on the imperishable, put on immortality, clothe or put on Christ, put on the new man, put on the whole armor, put on a new heart, and put on a heart of compassion.
“Put” means “sink into” or “clothe yourself” – like putting on your favorite sweater in winter.
Sink into Jesus, allow Him to totally envelop your thoughts, your temptations, your discouragement. Don’t focus on the discouragement, the failure, or the lust. Clothe yourself with Jesus and you stop thinking about the temptation (Romans 13:14 OGV).
That’s right. When the temptation appears, think about Jesus, not the temptation, and you forget.
In First Steps Conversations, I write this breathing illustration:
Close your eyes and try not to think that you are breathing. You won’t be able to. The more that you try to forget, the more that you remember.
In the same way, you can’t force temptation out of your mind. Instead, take your mind off the temptation and place it on Jesus.
Then you forget!
You don’t fight temptation by willpower. You don’t overcome discouragement by telling yourself not to be discouraged. Clothe yourself in Christ. Every time you think or feel discouraged, think:
I love you, Jesus. You are great and powerful. You give me strength. You love me!
Use discouragement to propel your thought life to Jesus. If your discouragement is a demonic attack, the evil one will flee. If your discouragement comes from memories, you rewire your thought circuits.
I have found that “falling into Jesus” enables me to forget about my discouragement.
When I travel, I have a very small Swiss Army knife that passes through security in a checked bag. I’ve used this tool many times for just about everything.
I memorized the NASB71 version of Romans 13:14. The OGV (Old Guy Version) mentioned above is my translation of the verse’s meaning after 50 years of meditation.
Romans 13:14! The Bible’s Swiss Army knife.