David, the shepherd boy who took down Goliath–the man after God's own heart–the great king, knew discouragement. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd,” he cried, “and sticks to the roof of my mouth” (Psalm 22:15a, NIV). David developed a valuable character trait. When there was no one to build his strength, David encouraged himself in the Lord. “You hear, O Lord,” he declared, “ the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more" (Psalm 10:17-18, NIV). As Saul sought to kill him, David was alone and hiding in fear. Realizing each day that death stalked him, David drew closer to God. It was in this time of suffering that David learned to encourage himself. Work on developing this personal trait and you will discover that fear will not rule your life. Your faith in God will flourish.
David had faith that God would give him the strength he needed for whatever he faced. “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19, NIV). David also discovered that sharing with others what God had done, not only encouraged others, but helped him. "I will declare your name to my brothers,” he promised. “In the congregation I will praise you” (Psalm 22:22, NIV). Praising God continually increased David’s belief in God’s faithfulness. He knew what God had promised Him, and that God would provide.
Encourage yourself–especially when you don't feel like it. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV). Give the Lord a sacrifice of praise when you least feel like it. He sacrificed for you. Share His joy when you feel down. It will increase your own, and give you strength. Share His faithfulness when you struggle in fear. It will place your fear on His altar, and bring peace. A sacrifice of praise is not about emotional feelings. It is about loving and praising God no matter how you feel. When you, like David, praise Him from a place of fear and suffering, He will honor your surrender by encouraging you.