Watch out for discouragement. It is dangerous. It always steals your joy, often robs you of your dreams, and sometimes even takes your life. That’s right, unchecked, discouragement can lead to premature death. Discouragement might, in fact, be the devil’s most useful tool.
“It was advertised that the Devil was putting up for sale all of his tools. On that date the tools were laid out. They had prices marked on them for public inspection, and there were a lot of treacherous instruments: hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, pride, lying, and so on. Laid apart from the rest of the Devil’s tools was a tool, but it was worn more than any of the others and was priced very high. ‘What’s the name of this tool?’ asked one of the customers.
‘That,’ the Devil replied, ‘is discouragement.’
‘Why have you priced it so high?’
‘Because discouragement is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that when I cannot get near him with any other tools. It’s badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since so few people know it belongs to me.’ ”
Jesus warned His disciples to guard against it. “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” In fact, He commands them to do so. This means discouragement, as prevalent as it is, and as useful as it is to Satan, can be prevented through our faith in Jesus.
But you have to decide you are not going to let it take hold in your mind and ruin your life. You have to decide you won’t just sit there doing nothing while the devil uses discouragement to choke the life out of your soul. You have to choose to use your God-given faith to resist the devil.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (I Peter 5:8-9 NKJV
Discouragement is the result of wrong thoughts that begin when you are disappointed, either with yourself, others, or God. The business closes, the marriage fails, a loved one dies, the expected breakthrough did not happen and immediately the enemy begins to inject negative thoughts into your mind. “You are a failure. Nothing works for you. You prayed for nothing. You are just wasting your time. Nobody cares. Everybody is laughing at you.” Sounds familiar?
Now, since discouragement begins with wrong thoughts, “resisting the devil, being steadfast in the faith” means replacing the lies of the devil in your mind with the truth of God’s Word. When discouraging thoughts enter your mind because of disappointments, don’t give them the opportunity to take root. Replace them immediately with the Good News of God’s love and grace. Quickly remind yourself that God’s love for you is non-negotiable, His forgiveness absolute, and His acceptance total. And tell the devil to go fly a kite!
I’ve learned the best way for me to deal with disappointments is to turn them into appointments with God. How do I accomplish this? I pray and ask God to use my disappointments to make me a better person. Then I claim the promise of Romans 8:28, and begin to confess, “I choose to believe God’s Word. I choose to rest in God’s love. All things work together for my good. God said this disappointment is working for me and not against me. He is going to use it for my good.Thank you Lord. I believe in you.”
This is the attitude Joseph demonstrated while dealing with major disappointments. He said to his brothers who had thrown him into a pit and sold him as a slave because of envy, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” With that attitude, Joseph turned his disappointments into appointments with God and God worked them for his good. Instead of the pit becoming his grave, God made it a launching pad that took him to the palace. Joseph ended up becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt.
Child of God, let not your heart be troubled. God will work it for your good.