Discouragement. A tool Satan can use so much more easily than many of the others in his arsenal. It sits off to the side, looking harmless, assumed to be nothing more than a normal part of life. How little we realize that with discouragement Satan can open doors in our hearts and minds which are so tightly locked up against his other tools…and once he’s inside our hearts and minds via his key of discouragement, he can use any other tool he wants.
God’s Word records many sad accounts of followers of God who lost heart and gave up. When Moses sent the spies into the Promised Land, all but Caleb and Joshua came back with discouraging news. The fearful saw the size and strength of their opponents rather then remembering the size and strength of their God (Num. 13-14). Elijah did great things for God which resulted in the conversion of thousands of Israelites (1 Kings 18:1-40; 19:18). Yet, he had become so discouraged when Jezebel threatened his life that he deceived himself into thinking he was the only servant of God left (1 Kings 19:1-18). After Peter promised that he’d never leave Jesus’ side, he ran with the rest when the Lord was arrested and a few minutes later became so afraid that he denied even knowing Christ (Matt. 26:31-75). He did so because he was discouraged after seeing the apparent lost cause his Lord’s ways had become upon His arrest.
We become discouraged when we make the same mistake that these folks made and start paying more attention to the obstacles than the opportunities. We become discouraged when we start believing Satan, “the father of lies” (John 8:44), instead of the Father “who cannot lie” (Tit. 1:2). What has the God who cannot lie promised us? He has promised us that our work is not meaningless, so be steadfast and immovable (1 Cor. 15:58). He has promised us that our trials and hardships make us stronger if we allow them (Jas. 1:2-4; Rom. 5:3-5). He has promised us that the hardships we endure seem painful now, but they cause us to become more righteous later if we allow ourselves to be trained by them (Heb. 12:1-11). Do we believe His promises? Do we? Our actions always prove how strong our faith really is (Jas. 2:14-26).
God can do great things with a heart which is His and a mind which believes it. Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who refused to be discouraged, went on to do great things for God and His people for years afterward. Elijah recovered from his discouragement and went on serving God, resulting in being brought directly into heaven rather than being allowed to die. Fifty days after a discouraged Peter denied Christ, he converted thousands of people through courageous preaching. All of these men faced what they thought were impossible situations, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel and no hope whatsoever…but it turns out they were wrong. Why? Because they forgot that God was with them (Phil. 4:13). Once they remembered that, look at the heights to which they climbed!
What heights can you reach with God’s help? What can God do with you? Does He have your heart and mind, or is Satan having his way with you? Remember James 4:7 and Hebrews 12:12-13, dear friends. Don’t let Satan discourage you! — Jon