Encouraging Yourself in the Lord ─ Part II Handout

Encouraging Yourself in the Lord - Part II Handout
I Samuel 30:1-6

By Mike Davis, Ph.D.

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;

And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.

So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.

Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

Lesson#1 "When it comes to the situations you are facing -no matter how bad - you have a choice about what and how you feel in the situation."
Lesson#2 - "Your emotional experience in a situation is not determine by the situation. It is determined by you."

Today I want to look at one more principle concerning encouraging yourself in the Lord and then look at HOW we can encourage ourselves in the Lord.

Lesson #3 - "You are 100% responsible for your emotional well-being."

1.   Let me say real quick that this 3rd principle (as well as the first two) is meant to be an encouragement - not a condemnation or a burden.

2.   You are NOT at the mercy of whatever emotional state you find yourself in at the moment. You have a choice.

3.   I want to encourage you...your strength, your encouragement, your joy, your confidence - your emotional well-being - is in your hands.

Now the question is: How do we exercise this gift, this responsibility?

While we are not told in I Samuel 30:1-6 what David did specifically to encourage himself in the Lord, the Scriptures do give us insight and strategies for how we can do that for ourselves.

Mike Davis says, "Let me share with you some of the strategies I have learned and apply in my own life to strengthen myself in the Lord."

Strategy#1 - Get some distance between yourself and the negative, unresourceful emotional state you find yourself in.

1.   First get out of the negative state (of fear depression, hopelessness, etc) that you are in - especially if that negative state is really strong or intense. How do you do this?

1)   Talk to yourself out loud about what you are feeling, as if you are talking to another person.

2)   Talking to yourself -- It can often help you "pop out" of the negative state.

2.   We see an example of this in Scripture; In Psalms 42 and Psalms 43 we have recorded two instances of the psalmist crying out to God, feeling down, depressed discouraged. But in both of the Psalms we find it written "Why are you cast down O' my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance" (see Psalms 42:5,11 and Psalms 43:5)

1)   When the Psalmist says "Why are you cast down O my soul" that is a Hebraic way of saying "Self-why are you down? Self-hope in God!".

2)   Again research has shown that by talking to yourself in the 3rd person about your experience-as if you are talking to someone else - is a great way to create some distance between yourself and the negative emotion state.

Strategy #2 - Remember and rehearse (especially out loud) the great things God has done for you in the past.

1.   In Deuteronomy 7:17-18 God tells Israel that when they enter the land to possess it they will face nations greater than themselves and will be tempted to be afraid. God tells Israel "Fear not!" and then he tells then how not to be afraid "You shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt"

1)   The Hebrew word for remember "zakar" means "to call back to mind, to rehearse, to relive in the mind".

2)   When David faced Goliath in I Samuel 17 he first rehearsed before king Saul how God empowered him and enabled him to overcome and defeat a lion and a bear (I Samuel 17:32-37). This was to encourage David (and Saul who had little faith David could defeat Goliath!).

3)   In Psalms 63 David, while in the wilderness of Judah, begins to feel down. How does he encourage himself? "...My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. And my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips. When I remember you upon my bed, I meditate upon you in the night watches. Because you have been my help therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice!"" (Psalms 63:5-7)

2.   And it can do the same for you. When feeling down, discouraged, or

Strategy #3 - Maintain a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving! Create a "Gratitude List" and review it often!

1.   How often have you heard or been told "Count your blessings!"? In I Thessalonians 5:18 we are instructed "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus!"

1)   Giving thanks, being thankful is to be a way of life for us. 

2)   Dr Sonya Lyumbomiirsky  and Dr. Barbara Fredrickson in their books "The How of Happiness" and "Positivity" both share how their research on the effects of Happiness and Positive emotions that practicing on purpose feeling grateful is a great way to build emotional strength and resiliency during tough times.

2.   And a wonderful way to do this is to write down as many things as you can that you are grateful for.

1)  I suggest getting a little note book and creating a gratitude journal or that you can record all the things you are grateful for Why? Because when you are going through difficult times it is hard to remember the good stuff that has happen and that are a part of your life.

2)  Now the key to this is to really FEEL the gratitude and appreciation. So take your time. Think about not only what you feel grateful for but why. Jot down a few thoughts as to why you feel grateful.

3) Do this often. To start ask yourself "If I had to pick at least one thing to feel really grateful about what would it be?" And write down your answer. And most importantly feel the gratitude and appreciation.

1997-2010 Bobby G. Bodenhamer and Mike Davis All rights reserved.