I used to struggle with discouragement. A lot. My big dream of becoming an established worship songwriter, worship leader and artist for God’s glory wasn’t working out. I felt stuck in a secular at-home job with tight deadlines, often working late at night at stuff that didn’t fill me up in any way. Instead, it sucked the joy out of me, making me tired and irritable. All through this time there was a powerful tool available to me, but I never realized it. I should have worshiped more.
There are countless articles on the Internet reminding us as worship leaders to worship God in our private times, but it takes our conscious daily decision to do so to make a difference in our lives. Worship has incredible power. Lifting up Jesus in song and prayer when we’re alone or with others connects us with Him in person, and we have access to His very throne. Paul wrote about in Hebrews 4:15-16, where he said,
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (NLT)
WORSHIP IN DISCOURAGEMENT
Through worship, whatever is discouraging us loses its power to hold us in prison, which is exactly what happened to Paul and Silas in Acts 16:22. They were in chains at night, but instead of getting discouraged, they decided to sing songs of worship to the Lord. As a result, God shook the earth to collapse the prison and set them free. He didn’t stop there, but brought the warden and his family to salvation as Paul and Silas kept following the Holy Spirit’s leading and decided to not run away, staying in prison voluntarily. This is a huge lesson for us. God wants us to worship Him in our discouragement so we can become spiritually and emotionally free, but stay in our circumstances to allow Him to prepare us for His plans for us, which will result in the salvation of others who are lost. (See “Refining Fire” for more on this.)
WORSHIP IN OBEDIENCE
Like the walls of Jericho, discouragement is just one of the tools of the enemy to keep us at bay and to prevent us from living the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus gives us life to the full. When the Israelites obeyed God’s call to simply worship Him, walking around the walls of the city filled with darkness with the seven priests with the ram’s horns going ahead of the Ark, the walls fell down at the right time. Note that they didn’t fall right away but required seven days of obedience, seven laps around the city and a yell at the end to collapse. This is a powerful picture for us, because God calls us to obey and worship Him in our circumstances for His perfecting work to run its course before He will change things.
Since the enemy can’t make us deny our faith without our consent (See John 6:39), he does what he can to minimize our impact on others. A discouraged believer is an ineffective believer, who doesn’t have the faith or strength to influence people for Jesus. It’s the enemy’s dream that all of us should be discouraged. We must defeat it through worship. Next time you feel discouraged, pick up your instrument and sing from the bottom of your heart or crank up some great worship tunes and sing along. Sing out loud His promises to you to defeat the enemy. Here are a couple of them, if you are struggling now.
He has sent me… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isa. 61:1-3 (NIV, paraphrased)
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalms 59:16 (ESV)
Go to the One who created you for a purpose and knows your needs better than you do. Worship Him in spirit and truth, and you will sense His encouragement, love and strength fill your tired bones, breathing life in the dead areas within you. Stay faithful to Him, submit to the shaping process, and don’t allow the enemy to lie to you by discouraging you. God is not tied to time, and He knows the desires of your heart. In His time, He will come through and deliver you. His plans for you are good and much bigger than you can imagine. Then you will surely praise Him for His goodness, but why not start already and avoid discouragement?