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By Cindy Van Wingerden, PhD

What do you do when you are struggling to find joy? It is a challenge for everyone at one time or another. For me personally, I love David’s response from 1 Samuel 30. In the story, David’s wives and children had all been taken by the Amalekites. Verse 6 says, “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.” David’s response to this was remarkable: “But David encouraged himself in the Lord.” 1 Samuel 30:6

Whenever I find myself fighting for perspective and joy, I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me, saying “learn to encourage yourself in the Lord.” So then the question is, how do I actually do that, especially when my soul is so downcast?

I was recently spending time in the book of Ephesians when I discovered a list of verses in my old study Bible. It is a list of very clear promises regarding who I am and the reality of my identity in Jesus Christ. As I read them out loud, I was reminded of the prompting of the Holy Spirit to “encourage yourself in the Lord.”

I can encourage myself in the Lord by meditating on the Truth of God. I also do it by replacing the lies of our culture, of the enemy, and of my own flesh with those truths. Of course, other ways include calling a godly friend who I know will pray for me, immersing myself weekly in biblical community, or making a slight change of scenery. But, to encourage myself IN THE LORD means actively putting off the lies that currently weigh me down and putting on the truth of God. His Truth cannot be matched for its excellent, restorative power.

I trust that you might be blessed by these few truths that follow. Of course, this is just a small fraction of the promises of God to us in Jesus Christ. Encourage yourselves in the Lord!!!