This last year I had the opportunity to study the book of Romans again, Precept style. It’s been eleven years since I studied it last, so I was more than ready for a refresher. Our group finished up part three a few weeks ago, and I am already missing it. (Part four is on the calendar for spring!)
I love studying God’s word inductively. It leaves me satiated, and the studies I have done are ones I don’t forget. The truths gleaned from them are ones that have kept me staying the course when the troubles of this life hit hard.
Romans is perhaps one of the most powerful books I’ve studied over the past sixteen years. It truly is, as Kay says, “the foundation of your faith.” The truths of scripture never age, never “go out of style.” Truth remains applicable for every decade, for every generation that arises.
One bit of truth from our study on Romans was what Kay titled, “The Five Deadly D’s.” What a timely, convicting reminder these were:
- Disappointment. Something comes into our lives that we wish were different. It could be a relationship issue, a work issue. It can be disappointment with a circumstance or with a person who has let us down. Whatever the cause, left unchecked disappointment becomes …
- Discouragement. Our faith begins to weaken. We lose course. Negativity results and is reflected in our conversations with others. It’s an easy step from discouragement to …
- Dejection. This is a lowness of spirit that brings emotional and physical fatigue. With dejection, our body begins to show the consequences of allowing circumstances and emotions to rule our lives. If dejection is allowed to continue, it can easily become …
- Despair. In times of despair we lose or abandon hope. We give up. We quit trying to make a difference, to work on a relationship, or to follow God’s clear direction. Instead, we become fatalistic. Finally, the spirit sinks to the point of …
- Demoralization. We begin to live in defeat. With this mindset, sin grabs an easy foothold.
Obviously, not every believer who is in despair or demoralized has given in to these “Deadly D’s”. Sometimes the cause may be spiritual warfare. Other times, physiological causes come into play. In this run-ourselves-ragged culture, we may just need rest and intentional quiet time to recharge.
But honestly? Oftentimes, we can trace our downward spiral to our response to disappointment. This is where truth comes in: taking captive “every thought…” “to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:5) How are we to respond to disappointment? Here are a few key ways to deal with disappointment:
- Kay Arthur suggests replacing “disappointment” with “His appointment.” In other words, rest on the sovereignty of God. He is sovereign. He alone rules. He is Lord. Albeit, some disappointments are because things need to be changed. That’s why another valuable response is to:
- Turn the disappointment to prayer. If your disappointment is in a circumstance or individual, take it to God. Let your hurt spur you to passionate prayer. Through prayer, God changes our attitude. Sometimes He will change the situation, but most often, He changes our heart.
- Allow your disappointments to drive you closer to God. Especially in relationships, we can experience disappointment. Don’t deny the reality of the sting of disappointment, but instead, apply the “Balm of Gilead.” God holds our sorrows and applies the elixir of Truth to bring hope and healing in each of them.
- Perspective is crucial. Focus on “the big picture:” the glory of God and His kingdom purposes. We often don’t understand what He is doing, but He is trustworthy. When we view our circumstances through the eyes of Christ, we can know, trust, and believe that God’s ways are, indeed, better than our ways.
Some alternatives to the “Deadly D’s”:
Delight – Delight yourself in God. Focus on God and His character.
Dynamic – Remember God’s power is at work in us who believe. We have a helper, the Holy Spirit, who empowers us.
Develop – Develop godly relationships with people who will “weep with those who weep,” and “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Authentic relationships will also allow room for others to speak God’s truth to you when you need to hear it most.
Determination – Determine to persevere. Allow perseverance to “finish its work.” (James 1:4) When perseverance is complete, maturity results. We no longer will act like children, impetuous and lacking, but mature and complete. We will reflect the image of Christ.
Friend, are you disappointed? Beware of “The Five Deadly D’s.” Remember this: God is sovereign. God hears. God is able. God sees. Allow your disappointment to forge, not something bitter, but something better.