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Encouraging Yourself

by Dr. Charles Stanley

Everyone experiences disappointment from time to time. But some people tend to wallow in negativity, dwelling on painful memories or situations. Others quickly recover their joy, sometimes with apparently little effort.

King David knew how to overcome feelings of discouragement. Even in the face of tragedy, he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6, KJV). He had learned how to put his hope in God in the midst of adversity.

From studying the book of Psalms, we can discover the method David used to overcome discouragement. Let’s take a look at some principles that show us how to encourage ourselves in the Lord.

I.  Be honest with God. Life can be painful. Godly believers get ill, lose their jobs, and grieve the loss of loved ones. When you feel discouraged, share your true feelings with God: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). Talking to Him about your struggles is often the first step to healing.

From each passage below, list a few negative thoughts that David expressed to God:

Do you feel comfortable pouring out your heart to God, regardless of how you feel? Explain why or why not.

II.  Don’t dwell on the negative. This might seem like a contradiction to “be honest with God.” But there is a difference between expressing your negative feelings to the Lord and dwelling on them day after day.

So how do you change your focus? One of the best ways is to thank God for what He has done for you.

  • On what occasion did David write Psalm 18?
  • Name at least 3 things he thanked God for in Psalm 18.
  • What has the Lord done on your behalf that you are thankful for? (For this question, think about what He has done in your life personally, rather than what He’s done for all believers.)

III.  Trust the Lord to take care of your needs. God’s faithfulness is great, unchanging, and true. His Word reveals that anything He’s promised, He has always fulfilled. Therefore, you learn He truly is a God you can trust as He proves His faithfulness to you.

Mediate on the following verses. Write down the ways these Scriptures encourage you to trust Him more:

IV.  Focus on encouraging spiritual truths.

As believers in Christ, we have incredible spiritual blessings that cannot be taken away or destroyed. When life gets you down, remember to thank God for the benefits you enjoy because of your relationship with Christ.

V.  Look for specific passages that speak to your situation.

Aside from helping you focus on spiritual principles that apply to all believers, the Holy Spirit can guide you to encouraging promises that take on special meaning for your situation.

For instance, someone who has been feeling discouraged by the success of wicked people around them could find peace in these words: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:10).

  • List five attributes of Scripture, according to Psalm 19:7-11.
  • Can you relate to verse 10? Explain why or why not.
  • Right now, in what area(s) of your life do you most feel the need for specific biblical encouragement?

VI.  Put your hope in God—not in a particular outcome, another person, or even your own abilities.

Although our families and friends can be wonderful resources in adversity, we must be careful not to place all of our hope in them. People will disappoint us at times. However, our heavenly Father is always available to counsel us, provide strength, and work on our behalf (Ps. 73:23-28).

  • What are a few benefits to trusting in the Lord, according to Psalm 37:1-11?
  • What can you learn about handling discouragement from Psalm 42 (see verses 5 and 11 especially)?
  • Psalm 146:3 teaches, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” What are some advantages of trusting in God instead of another person? (See Psalm 146:4-10.)

Closing: The next time you feel hopeless, ask God to show you how to be encouraged in Him. Place your faith and trust in the Lord, and discouragement will not gain a foothold in your life.

Prayer: Ask God for a specific scripture that will speak to your situation. Then, listen quietly for the Holy Spirit to bring a passage to mind. You may want to open your Bible and begin reading prayerfully. (Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the New Testament are particularly good places to start.) Once God “highlights” a passage to you, turn it into a prayer about your situation. You may also want to write it on a 3x5 card to carry with you or display where you can read it often.

Also: Find more resources to help you apply biblical teaching to your life on our You page.


Copyright 2015 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • March 18, 2014 09:15 PM


    The past week and in this present time, I have been facing difficulty in life, emotionally, physically and financially. Just today, I had a breath of peace, God led me to open this lesson on Encouragement by Dr. Charles Stanley. True, God is in control whatever situation we have, be it negative or positive. Thank you Lord for sending Dr. Charles Stanley for preaching your word. I felt relieved and I know God will uplift me through these adversities I am experiencing. I am tuning in to In Touch Sunday tv program here in the Philippines. It has helped me a lot since I became a single parent 18 years ago, the Bible taught me how to live in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. To God be the glory. God bless you Dr. Stanley and your ministry.

    Belle M. Socias
  • March 16, 2014 06:24 PM


    It is such a blessing that Charles Stanley has dedicated his life to teaching the word. This is a man who is 80 + years and continues to reach people of all age groups. He stands as proof of God's faithfulness and stands as a man in whom the Spirit of God resides. I am blessed to read this article and to watch his program along with all resources provided on In Touch Website.
  • March 16, 2014 03:09 AM


    Thank you so much for the wonderfull teaching. it opened up my eyes.

    God Bless you
  • March 15, 2014 09:49 PM


    Thank you Dr. Stanley. You have no idea how i need God's help in my confusing situation. Encouragement from someone to deal with my fear and discouraging thoughts in a matter of hours. All scriptures that you've mentioned very related to my circumstances. Dealing with my sickness and in coming marriage and financial needs and mocking from who hates me to have God's best in my life. Those negative voices in my head. In the same time, feeling bad for dragging those whom i love into my circumstances. Seeking God is one thing i can do. Sometimes feel abandoned and no where to go which i know it's not true. So, I thank God for this Bible teaching. All for God's glory.. Blessings...

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