Defeating Discouragement As A Missionary

Weeks have passed. Sometimes months. It seems like an eternity since you’ve seen someone saved in your ministry. You’ve been faithful to preach, teach, hold activities and witness. Yet “nothing” is happening.

Then the questions come: What am I doing wrong? Why isn’t anyone responding? What am I going to report to my supporters? Will anyone drop us? Why am I not having the same results as that other missionary? The questions can be haunting.

John Maxwell, respectfully called the Leader’s Leader, writes that discouragement comes when we:

  • Feel that opportunity for success is gone

  • Become selfish

  • Are not immediately successful in our attempts to do something

  • Lack purpose and a plan

(The Winning Attitude, 1993)

No matter what may be the source of your discouragement, the effects are the same. You feel powerless and lack motivation. These are the times when our beliefs are put to the test. These are the times when we must insist on acting as we should and thinking as we should. These are the times when we must be driven by our faith that God only blesses obedience and is always in control. When you are plagued by discouragement:

  1. Stay active – Standing still only postpones victory and makes us vulnerable. The rewards only come “if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

  2. Guard your thoughts – Don’t let yourself think things that are clearly unbiblical (Philippians 4:8). Submit “every thought” to Christ’s approval (II Corinthians 10:5). This is where the battle is won or lost.

  3. Don’t compare – If you are tempted to compare, or fear others comparing you, remember that God says that those who do so “are not wise” (II Corinthians 10:12).

  4. Keep learning – Don’t get stuck in a rut and cling to failing ideas. Learn from others. Find positive examples to model. “Prove [examine] all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

What have you found that has been helpful in defeating discouragement? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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