Hand Me Another Brick Leadership Series: The Four Causes of Discouragement (Part 1)

Dear Visionary Leader,

All of us are wall builders. The walls in our lives represent protection, separation and identification. We need walls. We need walls to protect our families and to protect our faith. We need walls to protect our future. We need walls of defense, walls of doctrine, walls of decency and walls of duty.

Yet, as we rise up to build, the devil will try to stop us. And one our enemy’s greatest tools is discouragement.

In Nehemiah 4:6-10, we read: “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped”-that is, the open places began to be filled in-“then they were very wroth”-in plain English, they were angry-“and conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.

As the people were at the halfway point of rebuilding the walls, somebody came with a report, saying, “We can’t do it. We’re tired. We’re worn out. The job is too big.” As a result, they got discouraged.

Do you ever get discouraged? Of course, you do. All of us from time to time get discouraged. I’m so grateful for the Book of Nehemiah, which has been a constant encouragement to me as a fellow-leader through the years.

Now, if you feel so low that you could just sit on the curb and dangle your feet, I want you to pay attention, because there is a way up. There are some powerful ways to get back up when we are down.

We need to remember that when God’s people have a mind to work, the devil has a mind to wreck. One of the ways Satan will keep you from being what you ought to be in your family, what you ought to be in your business, what you ought to be in your physical health, what you ought to be in your Bible study, what you ought to be in your soul-winning-whatever it is-is to come against you with discouragement.

And, let me say this: All discouragement is of Satan or self; it is never of God. God is called “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). That word comfort means “cancellation” or “encouragement.” God has cornered the market on encouragement; and the devil, who works against God, works with discouragement.

Now, if you’re discouraged with your child; discouraged with your marriage; discouraged with you job, with your service, with your health-I want you to pay attention now, because I want to show you the cause and the cure for discouragement. It’s right here, in Nehemiah chapter 4.

Continued In Visionary Coaching Below.

There are at least four distinct causes for discouragement. In this visionary coaching section, we will only discuss the first two causes.

Fatigue: We Can Become Worn Out (Neh: 4:10)

The first reason that the people who were rebuilding the walls got discouraged is simply this: they were worn out. It was a problem of fatigue. Look, if you will, in verse 10: “And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is failing.” They were tired of carrying a load.


We must admit it. As human beings, we are going to get tired. Jesus Christ Himself got so tired that He sat on the curbing of a well when His disciples went out to get food. Another time, Jesus Christ, the very Lord of Glory, got so tired that He went to sleep in the back of a ship in the midst of a storm.

No matter who we are, we can get physically tired. The Bible says in Isaiah 40:30, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men will utterly fall.”

If you get physically tired, you’re set up to be discouraged. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to go to bed and sleep! If we burn the candle at both ends, we’re not as bright as we think we are.

When does discouragement come? Nehemiah 4:6 says, “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof.” When the job is half done-that’s when we tend to get discouraged, and that’s when our strength seems to wear out.

For example, if you ever decide to climb a mountain, when you are halfway up, you will feel led to go back! At that point, the newness of the adventure has worn off, and the second half of the journey seems so long.

When you buy a new car, that new car smell is wonderful! But when you get it half paid for, you will wonder if you should have bought it in the first place.

The people in Nehemiah 4 were worn out. It was the problem of fatigue. One of the great football coaches of all time, Vince Lombardi, said this: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”- fatigue! Here is the number one reason you might get discouraged: you just may be worn out.

Frustration: We Can Become Weighted Down (Neh. 4:10)

Not only were the rebuilders of the walls worn out; they were weighted down. Our text says, “The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish.” Now, we can tell from the earlier part of this chapter that, in order to rebuild the walls, the people had to use the old stones that had made up the original walls. They had to dig through the rubbish to find the stones, and they had to remove the rubbish to rebuild.

They weren’t just worn out; they were weighted down. The task was not glamorous. It’s not glamorous to dig through rubbish looking for stones. And, all of us have lives that collect rubbish!

There is organizational rubbish, moral rubbish, theological rubbish, traditional rubbish, emotional rubbish, financial rubbish and ministry rubbish! In order to rebuild, we’ve got to sort through all these kinds of rubbish, and the process can weight us down!

You may be facing a situation or a task that seems too big for you, and your problem is not only fatigue; it’s frustration. You’re not only worn out; you’re weighted down. It just seems like you will never get it finished. “The job is too big; it can’t be done.”

If you are discouraged today, I encourage you to get alone with the Lord. Spend some time with the greatest encouragers you know. And get some emotional and physical rest! Blessings.

Until The Last Person Has Heard,

Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking