By Pat Ennis
Discouragement, extracted from the Greek word athumeo, means to be disheartened, dispirited, and discouraged. It frequently occurs when expectations are unfulfillment by hoping for impractical outcomes or anticipating unrealistic relationships. The greater the gap between hope and fulfillment, the greater the potential for discouragement and anger. An analysis of the prophet Elijah’s life (1 Kings 19:1-22; 2 Kings 2:1-10) provides us with biblical guidelines that shows us how to stop discouragement.
Elijah faced off with 450 false prophets of Baal and though he emerged a victor (1 Kings 18:18-46), Queen Jezebel did not share his enthusiasm. In fact, she was furious (1 Kings 19:1-2)! Instead of surrendering, as Elijah had expected, she issued an ultimatum, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time” (1 Kings 19:3).
Elijah’s response is what I call the Elijah Effect:
- Fear! (1 Kings 19:1-2).
- Running away from his problems (1 Kings 19:3).
- Thinking negative thoughts instead of meditating on God’s faithfulness (1 Kings 19:4).
- Emotional and physical fatigue (1 Kings 19:5-9).
- False expectations and unrealistic attitudes regarding the responsibilities God called him to assume (1 Kings 19:10).
- And then the big one – self-pity (1 Kings 19:14).
If you find yourself caught in the downward spiral of Elijah Effect , try:
- Resting and relaxing (1 Kings 19:5-9).
- Focusing on communion with (talking to) God (1 Kings 19:9-13).
- Using the Word of God as a sword to fight the source of discouragement, Satan (Ephesians 6:17).
- After a season of rest, resume your activity so that you are not ‘soaking and souring’ (1 Kings 19:15-18).
- Allowing friends to minister to you (Proverbs 17:17).
As you consider Elijah’s life, you will see how to stop discouragement when faced with difficult circumstances so you can follow God into a brighter tomorrow.
If you need some encouragement, watch this video of Donnie McClurkin singing Days of Elijah: