Don't Be Discouraged

Discouragement is sweeping our world like a mighty tidal wave. As society goes through one violent upheaval after another, people are suddenly faced with the realization that the things they had counted upon to provide a measure of stability and security are vanishing before their very eyes. Men and institutions, once considered to be “steady as a rock,” are now discovered to have “feet of clay.” The resulting disillusionment casts a pall of uncertainty, doubt and fear! People of the world often express the current situation in these words—“Everything is up for grabs.” Under such conditions, it is not at all surprising that discouragement is the prevailing mood of those who know not Christ as Savior. With no stability for the present and no real hope for the future, what else could be expected? But what about believers? Should those who say they are standing upon the promises of God be camping in the wilderness of discouragement instead of dwelling in the house of praise? Of course, believers are still in the flesh, and the weakness of the flesh is an undeniable fact. Our Lord had to remind Peter that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41. It is true that the pervading fog of discouragement that blankets the world touches the lives of believers as well. But is this sufficient cause to justify discouragement in the life of God’s children? Undeniably, many believers are going through times of trial and testing far greater than any they have experienced before. How our hearts go out to those who carry the heavy burden of serious and long-standing physical and emotional needs—their own or those of loved ones. What a difficult time it must be for those who suddenly face an economic crisis through unemployment and mounting bills! And, what about the many believers who face family problems which seem impossible of solution? In addition to such problems which are also common to unbelievers, many of God’s people are being tested by mounting spiritual problems within the church. A growing number of faithful pastors face real discouragement as their congregations rebel against the “strong meat of the Word” and insist upon following the path of worldliness and compromise. And, what about the rapidly increasing number of individual believers who feel like “spiritual orphans” because they are unable to find a church or pastor in their area that will be true to God’s Word regardless of the consequences? Would any or all of such trials provide just cause for a believer to become discouraged? The answer, of course, is a resounding NO! God has given us “many great and precious promises” which are specifically designed to dispel discouragement. If we believe God and walk by faith, discouragement cannot remain in the heart and life. But, if we insist upon walking by sight, the voices of self and Satan soon predominate. When that happens, we can see only the stormy seas; our hearts grow faint, and discouragement is the inevitable result. Furthermore, it is essential for believers to recognize that discouragement is actually a direct result of doubt. God’s Word makes it clear that doubt is one of the strongest and most frequently used weapons in Satan’s arsenal and that the devil uses doubt with believers as well as unbelievers. The problem is that many Christians would never confess to doubt in their lives, yet, they readily admit to discouragement. By this subterfuge, Satan encourages the believer who is discouraged to say, “I just can’t help it” instead of admitting the truth—“I just don’t believe God.” If that statement seems too extreme, too severe, read and consider the following promises of God: Hebrews 10:35-37; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:28. These, and many other great and precious promises of God’s Word, leave us with the inescapable conclusion that discouragement should have no place in the life of any believer, no matter how severe and long the testing may be! God says we must not cast away our confidence—our faith in Him. He reminds us that there is often a time-lag between “doing the will of God” and “receiving the promises.” During that time-lag, we must not cast away our confidence. We must be patient. We should be comforted and encouraged by the Blessed Hope. Christ is coming back. His return could come at any moment! We may not understand the full meaning and purpose of our present trials. But if we walk by faith, our testimony will be one of praise and joy—not of discouragement! Thank God, He has given every one of His children the “Shield of Faith” with the guarantee that through its use we “shall be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked.” That includes Satan’s twin darts of doubt and discouragement. May God help us to effectively use every piece of the armor He has provided so that our testimony for Him may be bright and clear ‘til He comes. — M.H. Reynolds Jr., March 1982