Monday, August 8, 2011
Did you hear that even the devil has felt the reality of our economic crisis and decided to have a garage sale? They say that Demons came from the deepest pits to bid on the tools of hell. At one table anger was selling cheap – so common, so plain, and so effective. Greed brought a big price and pride drove bids to unheard of levels. Multiple copies of the jealousy tool were hot items. Lust, as always, was bargain basement. The shrewdest demon in hell took Satan aside and said, “Tell me, your lowness, what is your best tool?” Satan nodded to a steel box in the corner, “it’s over there, but it’s not for sale.” The demon tried every crafty dodge in hell to get Satan to sell, but he wouldn’t budge. The shrewd demon wandered over to the box that held Satan’s prime weapon. Carefully, he slipped the latches and raised to top… not a very impressive tool; small really, but the demon did not doubt its potency. He turned the cold little instrument over to read the label, and then he understood. The label simply read: Discouragement. (originally authored by William R. Rathvon)
Quite possibly you’ve been feeling discouraged lately. That’s no surprise to the devil. His tool of discouragement works wonders in our fallen world. We try our hardest to walk by faith, only to find ourselves clinging to our sight. We face disappointments and suddenly darkness closes in on us without warning or explanation. It doesn’t take long before we’re smothered by fear and overcome with despair. The darkness of discouragement does that, and as a result, hope quickly fades.
The enemy wants us to think that life is only what we find on the surface, but Truth tells us there’s much more going on beneath it all and infinitely more at stake.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)
When disappointment happens . . . and it will, you’ll need to have your faith on a firm foundation, so that you’re not defeated by discouragement. (“in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11) Realize that there are parts of your life you’re not privy to. (God sees your life from beginning to end: Isaiah 46:10)Be open minded to believe there may be a “slight” chance that God knows more than you do, and He may just have a better viewpoint from where He is.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 (NLT)
When we’re faced with circumstances beyond our control, it’s our opportunity to learn to trust that God is fully in control, even when life isn’t. It’s only when we come to His throne of grace that we’ll find much more than we ever hoped for: peace, strength, mercy, and hope to continue the journey of faith. Disappointments happen, but discouragement becomes a choice. The enemy will use discouragement to cast doubt on your faith, but it gives you the opportunity to flex your spiritual muscles and show your faith in God.
Even through the pain, suffering, and emptiness, you can choose to trust God. You don’t have to understand it all. You don’t even have to “feel” like trusting God. You just have to do it. And you have to keep walking forward with your eyes upon God instead of your circumstances. Whatever you’re going through . . . know that God has allowed it. He sees SOMETHING good that can come from it. (Romans 8:28) If you were never allowed to face overwhelming circumstances, you’d never know you needed God. If you were never cast into situations of desperation, you’d never know your faith was genuine. This life is a test. You’re being prepared to live with a Holy God. Sometimes God gets the glory by how He delivers us, more often He gets the glory by how we persevere through seemingly insurmountable circumstances.
Faith isn’t easy. There will be many, many, many times when you will want to throw in the towel. But the Cross calls you forward. When you don’t know what to do, keep your eyes upon Jesus and keep walking forward in faith. (2 Chronicles 20:12) When you’re trusting in God, and your flesh grows weak, know that the spirit within you is willing. (Matthew 26:41) It’s by faith that you will see hope rise when you trust in God and stand strong against the enemy. And it’s the spirit within you that will cry out in the midst of the battle, “I’m down, but not out!”
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
(Psalm 43:5 NLT)
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