3 Bible Passages for the Discouraged

There are days, aren’t there? Days when it’s just hard to get out of bed. Days when the world, and your eyelids, just feel heavy. Days when you know it’s going to take a measure of effort to muster the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Surely, on days like that, the Bible has something to say to us. Some truth – some promise – some encouragement – for the days when we wake up discouraged.

Of course it does. Many things, actually. And while all are encouraging, these passages are particularly encouraging to us if we can isolate the reason why we are feeling discouraged.

In light of that, here are three Bible passages for the discouraged, each one centered upon a particular reason for the discouragement:

1. For those discouraged with the world…

Let’s start at the broadest category. Sometimes we simply are just discouraged at the world around us. We look at the conflict, at the virtues, at the changing morality – and it’s easy to become discouraged. It can feel, based on a cursory glance at the news, that we are in a world with no one at the wheel. That things are spinning out of control and every day is a little more complicated and off kilter than the last one. There is a Bible passage for you if you’re feeling that kind if discouragement:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).

These verses conclude one of the most compact descriptions of who Jesus is in the entire Bible. In these verses, we find a picture of the future. And that’s what this is – this is not a “maybe yes, maybe no” kind of passage. It’s a promise. 

If you’re discouraged at the state of the world, then remember that Jesus has already been exalted to the highest place. That He has already been given the name above every name.

And that someday, every single human being will acknowledge the reality of His kingship. It’s just a matter of time.

2. For those discouraged with their particular circumstances…

Maybe you are not particularly discouraged by the overall state of the world, but there is some specific circumstance – a relationship, a job situation, a question of resources – that is causing you angst. There is a Bible passage that deals with that as well:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:8-10).

This passage is a reminder of the great intentionality of God. When we encounter personal circumstances that cause us discouragement, one of the most helpful things to remember is that we aren’t in that situation by accident. We are where God wants us to be, even though it might be painful.

We find this intentionality in the fact that God has not only saved us by His grace, but that He has planned out good works for us to (literally) “walk in.” That means in the midst of what is causing us discouragement, there is good for us to do. That is an encouraging thought because it means that even if we are discouraged, we are not wasting our time. 


3. For those discouraged in general…

And then there’s the kind of discouragement that you can’t pinpoint. It’s when everything seems to just be piling up ontop of you, and if you had to give a name to the source of your discouragement, the only word that seems to fit is “everything.” What might the Bible have to say about that? A beautifully simple word:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7-8).

The posture of humility acknowledges that there are a lot of things – most things, in fact – that we cannot fix. But the Christian’s attitude of helplessness in the face of these things does not stop with that acknowledgment – it goes further as God invites us, in light of our own helplessness, to cast our cares upon Him. Because He loves us.

If everything just seems too much, we can be encouraged in knowing that when we have at last come to the end of our rope, God’s shoulders are very broad. He is strong enough to bear the weight of our anxiety and cares.

Friends, these are not “magic bullets.” But they are statements of truth. Further, they are not things to simply be read once, but rather to be soaked in. Marinated in. Internalized. And as we do, we find that the true encouragement we need at a soul level.

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This article originally appeared on thinke.org and is reposted here by permission.

Michael Kelley
Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley is director of Discipleship at LifeWay Christian Resources and the author of Growing Down: Unlearning the Patterns of Adulthood that Keep Us from Jesus.