"No One Feels Sorry For Me!"

Polls reveal that those involved in Christian ministry have a higher tendency for discouragement and “burn out” than most other professions. Every Christian has, at one time or another, experienced consternation or despondency brought on by the ever-present old nature. But let us consider the contrasting dispositions, aspirations, failures, and victories of Saul and David in 1 Samuel. The Lord anointed both for service, instructed both as to what He expected of them, and provided both men with the wherewithal to get the job done. What was the crucial difference? Saul acted and reacted in the flesh; David served in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saul knew what God required of him but tried to justify his disobedience by pious-sounding excuses (15:1-3 cf. 19-23). Saul lacked courage (17:10-11, 24). He was also faithless, vengeful, and downright pitiful at times (22:6-8). How often have we thought or even whined as Saul did, “There is none of you that is sorry for me”? Have we, like Saul, chided those around us for not sufficiently appreciating what we have done for them (22:7)? Without exception, a walk in the flesh rather than in the Spirit will result in resentment, self-pity, a “martyr-complex,” and other frailties common to the natural man. Slaying Goliath was Saul’s duty—yet he failed miserably.

But this was not so for David! When faced with the mighty enemy of the God of Israel, he had a completely different response—“Is there not a cause?” (17:29). He went forth with tried and proven weaponry (17:38-39). In the name and by the Spirit of his Lord (17:45), he returned with the victory (17:47, 50). Our armor is Christ, our sword the Word of God, our strength the Spirit (Eph. 6:10ff). David faced tremendous difficulties due to Saul’s relentless pursuit, yet when he looked to the Lord in prayer and pressed on with a pure heart, he was blessed and was a blessing to others (22:1-3, 23). God was with David “every day” (23:14). The servant of the Lord absolutely must walk with his God every day!

David was able to deal with the greatest distress (30:3-6), yet through prayer and dependence upon the Spirit of the Lord he also secured the greatest victories (30:8-9, 17-20). Do you encourage yourself in the Lord and go forward to victory, or do you allow the evil spirit (like the one that often troubled Saul) of despondency and even rage to rob you of what God promises to those who “walk in the Spirit” rather than in the flesh? Are you discouraged or perhaps even vengeful, jealous, or mean-spirited? Oh, dear Christian, trials and discouragement will come your way, but with unwavering faith in God, His Word, His enabling grace, and the certainty of victory in the battle, you must press forward as “a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” — Pastor Dennis Costella