. . . they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . Isaiah 40:31

Encourage Yourself in the LORD

1 Samuel 30:6 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.

It’s natural and normal to go from high to low in life, based on what comes our way, what we’re experiencing, and so forth. Many Christians move from the mountain top, so to speak, to the valley, as we call it, and then hope to make their way back up to the mountain top.

The first couple of years of my Christian life was like a roller coaster, up down, down up, and often I just stuck in the valley. People who become born again often go through what folks in Christian circles call the Honeymoon stage of Christianity. I personally had an amazing born-again experience back in 1979. It felt so wonderful to be saved and in church. I was a Baptist. We’d sing the old hymns, and there was such a sweetness.

All of that was new to me at age 29. I had stumbled into a world that I didn’t know existed before. It took me a while to figure out that everyone in that church had not had that experience. But it was wonderful. I was so excited about being saved.

When the church got together for campouts and other events, I wanted to talk about God and sing songs around the campfire and do stuff like that. It all just seemed so mysterious and wonderful to me. It surprised me a little that other church members didn’t seem to want to do that.

They would look at my zeal and enthusiasm, and they’d say, Oh, he’s just a babe in Christ. Give him a little while. He’ll calm down. It’s a shame that older Christians would say that over a new believer, like there’s something wrong with you for being excited about God.

Well, I did calm down after a while. In fact, I almost dried up on the vine, so to speak. I got to where I didn’t feel that wonderful feeling I felt before. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t find it. One problem, as I look back with hindsight, was that I was not getting much spiritual food. I was starving to death spiritually.

My inner man was hungry for something, and I didn’t know what it was, or where to find it. I would read my Bible and get as much out of it as I could. I really didn’t have much of a Biblical foundation to work with.

It was about that time that I became involved with a church that was more of a Bible School level of Christian training. I began to get some strong Bible training from folks who had just come out of Bible School. And I began to be stirred up again like I was when I was first born again. It’s the knowledge of the word that stirs our hearts.

I realized that there was more to the Bible than just the message of salvation, though that’s a great message, a message that’s needed to get us into the kingdom. But if that’s the only message you ever get, you don’t grow very far beyond that place.

Anyway, back in those early days, the first couple of years of my Christian walk I heard a couple of teachings that helped me to overcome that roller coaster experience of being on the mountaintop and then in the valley, and back again.

One of the messages was about how David encouraged himself in the LORD. And the other was about learning who we are in Christ. Those two messages coupled together made it a lot easier for me to stay on the mountaintop. You see, it’s in Christ that we’re saved. We have redemption through His blood, the Bible says, and in that redemption, we are made new creatures.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

That verse alone is enough to stir you up. Who am I? I’m a new creature in Christ Jesus. Old things have passed away. All things have become new in my life. Glory to God!

It’s in Him that we are made righteous. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 . . .

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

In Him I am the righteousness of God, and so are you. Oh, Brother, are you saying that you’ve arrived, that you’re perfect? No, I’m not saying that. I’ve been in this thing for 40 years, and I haven’t arrived at perfection yet. And I haven’t met anybody who has. Have you? I don’t think so.

I am merely agreeing with what the Bible says about anyone who is in Christ. He is a new creature and he is the righteousness of God. You see, I tried so hard to be righteous for several years and failed miserably. I worked at it so hard. I read my Bible, I prayed on a regular basis, I went to church every time the doors were open. I wanted to feel like I was righteous, but the devil was always there to remind me of my issues and problems, no matter how hard I tried.

But once I discovered that the Bible says I’m the righteousness of God in Christ, then I had some ammunition to use against the devil. When that feeling of unrighteousness and unworthiness would come over me, I could just close my eyes and say . . .

Father, I thank You that I am a new creature in Christ Jesus. That old life has passed away, and all things have become new for me. Thank You, Father, that You made Jesus to be sin for me, so that I could be made the righteousness of God in Him. And, Father, according to Colossians 1:12 I have been made fit and worthy to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. Glory to God! I am in Christ Jesus, and I am righteous in Him.

When we do that we may start off feeling down in the dumps, so to speak, but then the good feelings come, as we speak these things. This is a form of prayer. Some people would call that confessing the word. I’m ok with that, but I call it the prayer of encouragement. This is how we encourage ourselves in the Lord. And it’s something we ought to do every single day of our life.

1 Samuel 30:6 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.

David was greatly distressed. He wasn’t feeling very good about things. He was nowhere near the mountaintop, you might say. This was one of the lowest points of his life. The people were talking about stoning him. They blamed him for their wives and children being taken. Fear was trying to close in on him. But what did he do?

It says that he encouraged himself in the LORD his God. He stirred himself up in God’s faithfulness. Sometimes we’re the only ones available to encourage us. And after he did that, he was able to make some good decisions that turned the situation around.

We have to get ourselves out of that place sometimes, the place where we can’t think straight, and into a place of peace. How do we do that? We have to encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. In His word, in His promises. This is also the method by which we walk and live by faith. Are you in a low place right now?

Are you in the valley? Find out who you are in Christ, and use that to get back up to the mountaintop.

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