As you journey through life, you will encounter a number of situations that may cause you discouragement. Asaph, who was a worship leader in the Old Testament, describes a time of discouragement that he experienced. We may think that people in spiritual leadership positions are immune from discouragement, but they experience the same struggles as everyone else. Asaph reveals his heart as he recounts the struggles he faced and how we was able to overcome them. He opened Psalm 73 with a note of confidence, but then he quickly admits that he did not always feel that way,

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart! But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped. (Psalm 73:1-2)

Can you identify with Asaph? He came close to stumbling in his walk with God. The next verse reveals the cause of his discouragement,

For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 73:3)

Asaph was seeking to live a righteous life and he was struggling, while the unrighteous were living a life of prosperity. He doesn’t understand why the ungodly were prospering and ostensibly living a life of blessing,

Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; (Psalm 73:12-13)

If you have sought to live a righteous life and you see the unrighteous prospering, then you can identify with Asaph. It’s discouraging when you keep the rules and do that which is right and the person who lies and cheats gets ahead and is rewarded. How can we escape the feeling of discouragement when it seems we’re living our lives in vain? It’s times like this that we need God’s perspective – that’s how Asaph was able to let go of his discouragement. He came into the presence of God,

When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. (Psalm 73:16-17)

When Asaph realized God’s perspective he was able to experience God’s peace. He realized that eternal blessings are far greater than any earthly, temporal blessings. Augustine helps us comprehend a godly perspective with this question, “Listen to me, you who are poor; what is lacking to you if you have God? Listen to me, you who are rich; what do you possess if you do not have God?” Asaph realized what was really important in life as he declared,

Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. (Psalm 73:25)

The best things in life aren’t things. If you are living only for temporal gain, it is sure to bring eternal loss. Too many people put an emphasis on making a living rather than making a life. May you follow Asaph’s example and lose your attachment to the things of this world. The greater your nearness to God, the less affected you are by the distractions of this world.

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

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