Why are we discouraged? I submit there are two main reasons. We are too focused on ourselves and not on God and/or the devil has his weapon raised and we are in his sights. Both are actually reasons to be encouraged.
Fixed on the Here and Now
We are human, and so most of the time we look at what is happening in the natural instead of believing what God promises supernaturally.
In other words, we are too focused on the temporal, earthly issues and circumstances we find ourselves in. We are limited and hemmed in by what looks like an impossible circumstance.
Story of Your Life
One thing God does well is what fiction writers sometimes call "pulling a rabbit out of a hat." Here's how it works. Toward the middle of the book, everything looks like it's going to turn out perfectly.
Then in the next section, everything falls apart. What you thought would be a great story looks impossible to rectify. As a matter of fact, you can't see how it will ever turn out good.
Wait, though; there's more to the book. The twist comes in the last part where the impossible is made possible. This is what God does with our lives. He weaves everything together.
"So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God's perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose" (Rom. 8:28, TPT).
Our creative God loves to weave the pieces of our lives together for our good and His glory. We can't see how anything will ever come of the mess we've made of our lives. He believes in us so vehemently that He helps weave the pieces of our lives together in a beautiful tapestry.
Fear Is A Liar
Fear is another thing that hits us between the eyes. And it always happens right when we are about to enter into another level in God, and we know we will have to vigilant against the enemy's tactic.
Things are lining up for our promotion or our deeper understanding of God's ways. It feels like there is a long, dark tunnel we have to get through before we are able to step into the new.
God is ready to teach us something, an important piece we will need for our next season. However, there is one who will fight tooth and nail to make sure we don't step into that next level.
Father of Lies
The thief, the father of lies, is the one who wants to stop us and keep us wandering around in the dark tunnel where we can't find our way out unless we are focused on the light at the end. Unfortunately, he has many whom have been enlisted to accomplish this deed for him.
Jesus could have been discouraged when facing those he knew wanted to kill him. Instead, he called them out and said, "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning ... there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
Fear is the evil one's main weapon. We know we are stronger than the cartoon-looking guy in the red tights, horns and pitchfork because we have Jesus on our side. It's just that he doesn't show himself to us in a way we can recognize him.
Recognize the Source
He comes disguised as discouragement. It feels like what he says are not his words, but our own. And, of course, we always believe our own words.
Once we recognize the source, though, we have him on the run. We know what to do. It's simple. We make a clear choice and take a stand. "Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
Why does he run? Because we have taken a stand, and he knows the one you we chosen is stronger than he is. And once we have taken that stand, we must continue to stand.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8a). But there's one final act to seal the defeat of the enemy. We must cleanse our hands of anything we have done wrong and purify our hearts.
This is the final dagger in the enemy's heart.
When discouragement comes against us, it is because there is a greater blessing, a deeper walk with God, a new season on our horizon.
God is working to take the difficulties we've been walking through and weave them into a message only we can carry.
When the evil one is working against us, it's time to send him packing in the name of Jesus, because we are just one step closer to coming into our destinies.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of seven books, all available on Amazon. Her latest book, Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God, is available now, and Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the No. 1 Christian weight-loss memoir. She is also a writing and weight-loss coach, blogger, speaker, wife and mother. Visit her online at TeresaShieldsParker.com to find her books, coaching programs and free gifts.
This article originally appeared atteresashieldsparker.com.
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