Discouraged is to be disheartened; to lose courage, confidence, or motivation.
Ex. 5:19 – 6:1 Does it seem like Moses was discouraged in Ex. 5:22-23, and why?
What does God tell Moses in Ex. 6:1 to encourage him?
Do you ever get discouraged because it doesn’t seem like God is working things out like you thought He would?
If so, how did you deal with it, and why that way?
Ex. 14:10-14 Why did the Israelites get discouraged?
What did they do to Moses?
Do you ever get discouraged because the enemy seems stronger than you, and it seems like he is going to win?
Does it seem like Moses got discouraged?
What did he do instead?
[He encouraged them by telling them that the Lord would fight for them and accomplish salvation for them. He was convinced that God would follow through on His promise.].
Are you that convinced about God’s promises, and why?
Ex. 18:18, 23-26 Why did Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, tell Moses that he would wear himself out (Ex. 18:18)?
Was he right (see Num. 11:11-15)?
What did Moses do in response to Jethro’s advice (Ex. 18:24-26)?
Do you ever get discouraged because you are overloaded with responsibilities?
[Some things that might help are: Delegate those responsibilities that can be delegated to qualified people. Do the most important tasks yourself. Pace yourself. Don’t try to do too much at one time. Eliminate the non-essentials. Know your God-given purpose in life].
Num. 12:1; 16:1-3 What two events did Moses have to endure?
Do you think you would get discouraged by family opposition to your doing God’s will and by the rebellion of those under you if you are in a leadership position (if God placed you in a leadership position), and why?
Jer. 1:5-10 Does Jeremiah seem somewhat reluctant to be God’s spokesman (Jer. 1:6)?
What excuse does Jeremiah make in Jer. 1:6?
Is it a valid excuse?
Why (see Jer. 1:5, 7-10)?
Have you ever been discouraged from speaking what God wanted you to speak?
Have you ever made excuses as to why you shouldn’t or couldn’t do so in order to rationalize your disobedience?
If so, when?
[Jer 1:5, 7-10 shows that God had predestined Jeremiah to be His prophet. God had appointed Jeremiah and put His words into Jeremiah’s mouth; therefore, Jeremiah was to obey God. This was to be all Jeremiah needed to know in order to obey.].
Is it God’s will for you to be His spokesperson for the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20)?
Do you think He would give you everything you need in order to do so, and why (Phil. 2:12)?
Jer. 14:11-12 What did God tell Jeremiah not to do for the third time (Jer. 7:16; 11:14)?
Do you think it would be discouraging if you knew that your prayers wouldn’t do any good, and why?
Jer. 15:10 Why was Jeremiah depressed?
Have you ever been in a situation where everyone spoke badly about you although you did nothing to deserve it except to do God’s will?
If so, when?
If so, were you discouraged, and what can we do to keep from getting discouraged in a situation like that (1 Cor. 4:2-3; 2 Tim. 3:12)?
Jer. 15:15-18 Besides not sitting in the circle of (associating with) merrymakers (revelers, those engaged in wild drinking parties), what else did Jeremiah do?
And how did Jeremiah feel (Jer. 15:18)?
Does it seem like Jeremiah felt let down, almost as if God had failed him (Jer. 15:18b)?
Have you ever felt like God let you down even when you thought you had done everything right?
Have you ever been disappointed because you felt like God hadn’t met your expectations?
If so, when?
Jer. 16:2 What did God tell Jeremiah not to do?
How do you think you would feel if God forbade you to get married and have children, and why?
[Jeremiah kept on faithfully, accepting it as the will of God.].
Jer. 18:18, 20 What did Jeremiah’s enemies do?
Have you ever tried to do good for some people, yet they repaid you with evil?
If so, was it discouraging, and why?
Jer. 20:2 What did Pashhur, the priest, have done to Jeremiah?
Did this prevent Jeremiah from speaking God’s word (see Jer. 20:3-6)?
Do you think it would have discouraged you from speaking God’s word?
Jer. 20:7-8 How did Jeremiah feel (Jer. 20:7)?
What happened to Jeremiah?
What was Jeremiah’s perspective in Jer. 20:11?
Have you ever been laughed at, mocked, and ridiculed for preaching/teaching God’s Word, the Bible?
If so, how did you feel, and why?
Jer. 26:8; 32:2; 33:1; 37:14-17; 38:6
What happened to Jeremiah in all those verses?
Did those things stop Jeremiah from speaking God’s word, especially to king Zedekiah, who treated him badly (Jer. 37:17)?
Do you think you would have been discouraged by any of those things, and why?
Jer. 36:2, 4, 23 What happened to the book that God told Jeremiah to write?
Do you think this might have been discouraging to Jeremiah and Baruch, the scribe?
What did God tell Jeremiah to do in Jer. 36:28?
Did Jeremiah obey (Jer. 36:32)?
What would you have done, and why?
Do you obey God even when it seems like it isn’t doing any good, or do you get discouraged and quit, and why?
Job 1:13-19 What happened to Job on the same day?
How did Job respond (Job 1:20-22)?
How would you react if all your possessions and family members were taken away from you on the same day, and why?
How would you react and feel if your house burned down with your life’s work of Bible studies, Christian articles, audios/CDs, books, videos, etc. in it, and why?
Would you be so discouraged that you wouldn’t worship or serve God any more, and why?
What if your ministry was taken away from you, all your Bible study members and Christian friends deserted you and you were forced off campus, would you give up, and why?
Job 2:7-10 What happened to Job (Job 2:7-8)?
What did Job’s wife tell him to do (Job 2:9)?
How did Job respond (Job 2:10)?
Have you ever been severely afflicted physically?
If so, how did you respond?
If not, how do you think you would respond, and why?
Job 6:14-30 According to Job, how should a despairing man be treated by his friends (Job 6:14)?
Why that way (Job 6:14b)?
Did Job’s friends treat him this way (see Job 6:15-27)?
[When Job was in great pain and despair, he most needed comfort and kindness from his friends. Instead Eliphaz, Job’s supposed friend, only added to Job’s pain with harsh words and false accusations.].
Have you ever had a friend betray or hurt you when you most needed him/her?
If so, did you get discouraged?
When you see a friend in great pain that’s not due to living in sin, do you treat him/her with kindness and try to comfort him/her and encourage him/her so that he/she does not get discouraged from serving God?
Why (2 Cor. 1:3-4)?
Acts 14:2-3 What happened in Acts 14:2?
What did Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:50) do (Acts 14:3)?
Why were they able to speak boldly?
Are you able to boldly preach God’s word, even when you know you are in a hostile environment?
How can you have that ability?
Acts 16:22-24 What happened to Paul and Silas?
Do you think that could have been discouraging?
What did Paul and Silas do (Acts 16:25)?
Do you think you would be able to sing hymns of praise to God if you had been beaten and thrown in prison, and why?
Or, would you get depressed and start to wonder whether it was worth preaching the gospel any more?
Acts 20:22 Why was Paul determined to go to Jerusalem?
What did the disciples in Tyre keep telling Paul in Acts 21:4?
In Acts 21:10-11, what did the prophet Agabus say was going to happen to Paul?
What did others tell Paul in Acts 21:12?
Was Paul discouraged from going to Jerusalem, even though he knew what awaited him there, and all his friends were telling him not to go?
Why not (Acts 21:13)?
What would you have done if you were in Paul’s situation, and why?
Do you get discouraged from taking the initiative in sharing the gospel with people because other Christians or religious people tell you not to do it because it’s offensive, and why?
Or, do you get discouraged when other Christians or religious people tell you that you shouldn’t be training believers like Jesus and Paul did by living with them because it’s too cult-like and restrictive, and why?
Gal. 4:13 What was going on with Paul while he was preaching the gospel to these Galatian Christians?
[Though we don’t know what exactly was wrong with Paul, he did have some type of physical illness, possibly the thorn in the flesh spoken of in 2 Cor. 12:7.].
Do you think it could have been a discouragement for him to preach the gospel in that condition?
Do you ever get discouraged from sharing the gospel because of some illness or because you think you look ugly (Gal. 4:14-15)?
2 Tim. 4:10 What happened to Paul here?
What else happened to Paul at his first defense (2 Tim. 4:16)?
Have you ever had a trainee or someone close to you desert you?
If so, was it discouraging?
And if so, how did you respond, and why?
1 Thes. 2:9 What was Paul doing while preaching the gospel to these Thessalonian Christians?
Did the fact that Paul was in labor and hardship in order to support himself (so that he didn’t have to receive money from these Thessalonians) keep him from also proclaiming the Gospel?
Do you ever use the excuse that you have too much work to do to go out witnessing?
In the following passages, write down the discouraging circumstances Paul went through.
- Acts 9:29
- Acts 13:50
- Acts 14:19
- Acts 19:23-30
- Acts 21:30-31
- 1 Cor. 2:3
- 1 Cor. 4:11-13
- 1 Cor. 15:30-31
- 2 Cor. 1:8-9
- 2 Cor. 4:8-11
- 2 Cor. 6:4-5, 8-10
- 2 Cor. 7:5
- 2 Cor. 11:23-28, 32
Do you think that you would have been discouraged by any of the things that Paul went through?
2 Tim. 4:6-8 What was Paul able to say about himself at the end of his life?
Wouldn’t you like to be able to say the same thing at the end of your life?
What do you think you need to do so that you will be able to say the same thing?
Gen. 37:23-28 What did Joseph’s brothers do to him?
What was Joseph’s perspective through all his trials so that he did not become bitter at God, toward his brothers, or stop worshipping and serving God (Gen. 45:5, 7-8; 50:19-20)?
Do you trust that God is sovereignly working out things for your good (Rom. 8:28), even though circumstances may seem harsh or unfair?
Gen. 39:11-12, 19-20 What did Joseph’s master do to him, and why?
Did Joseph do anything wrong to deserve it (Gen. 40:15)?
Doesn’t this incident seem discouraging and unfair?
Have you ever had someone do you wrong because you feared God and did what was right?
If so, when?
Gen. 40:14 What did Joseph tell the cupbearer to do since Joseph had prophesied good for him?
Did the cupbearer do it (Gen. 40:23)?
Would you have been discouraged by this, and why?
1 Ki. 19:1-4, 10, 14 What did Elijah do and say?
Does it seem like Elijah was depressed?
What did Elijah just finish doing before this (Elijah 18:36-40)?
After his experience in 1 Ki. 18:36-40, should Elijah have been afraid of anyone or been depressed?
[Often times, after a great spiritual victory or spiritual high, we can become depressed and discouraged. There are probably a number of reasons for this. We’ve used up a lot of spiritual and physical energy, so naturally we may feel tired or weak. Satan knows this, so he seizes the opportunity to sow seeds of discouragement. Another reason is that we get used to experiencing a certain level of emotional and spiritual excitement. We want that level to remain. When it doesn’t, we feel a let down and then we start to wonder whether we are still in a good relationship with God or whether we are even doing any good any more. We must come to expect that there will be a certain amount of spiritual letdown following a spiritual high or victory so that we do not become discouraged by it.].
Ezek. 2:3-7 What kind of people did God say he was sending Ezekiel to (Eze. 2:3-4)?
How would you react if you knew you were going to be sent to a rebellious, stubborn, and obstinate people?
What did God tell Ezekiel to do in Ezek. 2:7?
Could you be enthusiastic about preaching God’s word, even if people didn’t listen to you?
Why wouldn’t the house of Israel be willing to listen to Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:7)?
[If people have a problem with you because of the biblical message you preach, their problem is really with God, so don’t take it personally. You’re just called to faithfully preach God’s word, not be liked or accepted necessarily.].
Ezek. 3:17-24 What would happen to Ezekiel if he did not warn the wicked as God had told him to (Ezek. 3:18)?
What would be the outcome for Ezekiel if he did warn the wicked, but the wicked did not listen?
So, was Ezekiel held responsible for how the people responded, or just whether or not he was faithful to obey God by preaching His word?
Do you think that God will hold you responsible for how people respond to your preaching, or do you think God will judge you based on whether or not you faithfully obeyed Him (1 Cor. 4:2)?
So, should you get discouraged if people do not respond positively to your message?
Or, should you be concerned about results in the ministry?
Why (1 Cor. 3:6)?
Ezek. 24:15-24 What did God tell Ezekiel He was about to do (Ezek. 24:16)?
How was Ezekiel told to respond (Ezek. 24:16-17)?
Doesn’t that seem unfair to Ezekiel?
Do you think that would have been a discouragement to Ezekiel? To you?
Did Ezekiel obey God (Ezek. 24:18)?
How would you feel if God told you that He was going to take away the person or thing that was most dear to you and that you weren’t to mourn over it?
Would you be discouraged to live for God?
Or, are you leaving everything that you have under God’s sovereign control, and why?
Neh. 2:19-20 What discouragement did Nehemiah have to face here?
What was his response?
Did Nehemiah seem to be discouraged by Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem?
How can you tell?
Have you ever been mocked, despised, or falsely accused of doing something wrong?
Have you ever been severely criticized for doing what was right?
Do you let criticism from others get to you or are you able to shrug it off, maintain a strong confidence in God, and continue to do what is right without being deterred?
Neh. 4:1-6 What took place that was discouraging the Jews in rebuilding the city wall?
What did Nehemiah do (Neh. 4:4-5)?
Do you pray on behalf of others who are being discouraged from doing the work of the Lord?
Has anyone ever insulted you or made fun of what you were doing for God?
How did you respond?
Neh. 4:7-9, 13-14 What discouraging thing happened (Neh. 4:7-8)?
What did Nehemiah and others do (Neh. 4:9)?
Was this all Nehemiah did (Neh. 4:13-14)?
Do you think there are times when it is not enough just to pray about something, but to take necessary action as well?
What was Nehemiah’s perspective (Neh. 4:14)?
What should be your perspective when others are out to get you, and why?
Neh. 6:1-4 What did Sanballat and Geshem do to try to hinder Nehemiah from doing the Lord’s work?
What did Nehemiah do?
What would you have done, and why?
Neh. 6:5-9 What did Sanballat do this time to try to discourage Nehemiah and the Jews?
Did Nehemiah get discouraged?
Have you ever had people slander you (falsely accuse you to your face) or spread rumors to others to try to turn them against you?
Do you get discouraged by those things?
Neh. 6:10-14 Why did Sanballat and Tobiah hire Shemaiah (Neh. 6:13)?
Did Nehemiah give in?
Has anyone ever tried to pressure you into committing some sin so that they could use it against you?
Did you give in?
Neh. 13:6-11, 15-16, 23, 25, 30
What did Nehemiah discover when he returned to Jerusalem after being in Babylon for a time?
Do you think that it could have been discouraging for Nehemiah to come back and find that the Jews had gone back to doing many of the same sins that Nehemiah had already corrected once before?
Do you think Nehemiah could have given up trying to reform Jerusalem again, thinking his efforts had been in vain the first time?
Did this keep him from trying to reform Jerusalem again?
Would you get discouraged from living a godly life, evangelizing, and/or training other Christians if it appeared that your ministry was having no real, lasting effect on people and seemed in vain?
Psa. 6:2-3 How did David feel?
Do you ever feel like this?
Do you talk to God about it?
Psa. 13:1-2 Does it seem like David was discouraged here?
Have you ever felt like God has forgotten about you?
If so, when?
Psa. 22:1-2, 11 Does it seem like David may have felt a little discouraged here?
Have you ever felt forsaken by God and/or other people, even friends?
Have you ever been discouraged because God was not answering your prayers, and you couldn’t understand why?
Psa. 23:4 Why did David say that he wouldn’t fear any evil?
Do you fear harm from someone and so you are discouraged, and why?
Psa. 31:9-10 What does David say about himself here?
Are you this intimate with God so that you express your feelings to Him when you are in distress?
Why should you be, and how could you be?
Psa. 35:11-12 Does it seem like David may have been discouraged?
What good had David done for his enemies (Psa. 35:13-14)?
Would you do this for your enemies?
What did David’s enemies do in return (Psa. 35:15-16)?
Has anyone ever done something bad to you even though you did good for them?
Did you let that hinder you from continuing to do good to people?
Psa. 55:2-5 What discouraging things happened to David?
Would you get discouraged if people rose up against you, spread rumors, sought to hinder your ministry, or sought your life?
What advice does David give in Psa. 55:22?
Do you heed this advice when you are discouraged, and why?
Psa. 56:1-2, 5-6 What discouraging things happened to David?
Have you ever had someone take what you said, twist your words, take them out of context, and try to use them against you?
Have people ever been out to get you so badly that they watched your every move, just waiting for you to stumble so they could use it against you?
How did you react, and why?
What did David do (Psa. 56:11)?
Are you, and why?
Jon. 1:1-3 What did God tell Jonah to do?
Did Jonah do it?
[I jotted down several factors that could have been a discouragement to Jonah. Jonah 4:2 states that Jonah knew that God was merciful and that God might have compassion on Nineveh. Jonah did not want that, so he fled. It was prophesied by Amos (Amos 5:27) and Hosea (Hosea 11:25), both contemporaries to Jonah, that Assyria would come and take Israel exile. Perhaps Jonah felt he would be helping the enemy.].
[Also, the city and its kings were known for their cruelty, hostility, and bloodthirstiness. On top of that, Nineveh was a 500-mile journey. This means that Jonah would have to travel for over a month if he traveled the normal distance of 15-20 miles a day by foot.].
Should Jonah have gone in spite of the discouraging circumstances?
Why (Jon. 1:2)?
Would you have obeyed God?
Do you get angry and/or discouraged when God doesn’t do what you want or expect Him to, and why (Jon. 3:10 – 4:3)?