What is the difference between being humbled and being discouraged? This is an important question as we prepare ourselves to come to this meal. Humbling ourselves is how we wash up for this meal, and discouragement is a counterfeit form of washing up.
So what is the difference? The Puritan William Bridge is a great help here. A discouraged saint is thinking about his own condition—it is all about his own condition. A humbled saint is concerned for the dishonor done to God by his sin, and not primarily concerned with the trouble he himself is in as a result of it.
It is possible to be discouraged, but not humbled, as Cain was when he complained that his punishment was more than he could bear. The point of grief was what was happening to him. It is possible to be humbled, but not discouraged, as the prodigal son was when he decided to return home. In that case, his discouragement brought him to humility, and humility brought him home, willing to be received as a servant.
Humbling results in a glad reception. Discouragement spirals downward, ever downward, and does not end unless it is repented. This is a meal for the humbled, not for the discouraged. If you are discouraged, you may certainly come, but set aside your discouragement first—it is a sin, remember—and accept the humbling instead.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.
Via: Douglas Wilson