Friday September 30, 2016
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Don’t give up, Amigos!
Many years ago I was presiding over a church business meeting. We were meeting in our new building, but it was still not finished. We needed a final push in both money and manpower to get it done. I presented a plan to have a grand opening in about three months. I had invited our city leaders and guest speakers. Everyone was very excited. Promises and plans for fund-raising and construction help were pouring forth. Then, as we were about to close in prayer and go forth to get it done, our architect stood up. He began a monotone recitation of reasons he did not think we could finish the project in time. You could feel the shroud of despair drop over the room. It took us another year to complete the job. I developed a new understanding of the story of the 10 spies who talked Israel out of entering the promised land (Dt 13). The negative report about the giants in the land “discouraged their hearts.” (Dt. 1:28)
Discouragement is a warning light on our spiritual dashboard. When your internal atmosphere switches from hope and faith to fear and doubt, you are discouraged. The word “discourage” comes from an old French term meaning to remove, or reverse the direction of, the heart. It is the attempt of Satan to convince you that you do not have the necessary strength, determination, or talent to fulfill the will of God. Discouragement is believing a lie. We miss the blessing when we, like the Israelites, give up the journey just one more river from the Promised Land.
Two major causes of discouragement for the Christian:
1. Impatience. When it takes longer than we think it should, we begin to entertain thoughts of doubt. Our minds and bodies grow tired. We begin to think we have done something wrong, or that God is not with us in the fight. Our attention moves from the promise to the problem. Emotions reign. We give up. Proverbs 13:12
2. Well-meaning friends. We all have folks around us who, like the 10 spies in Israel, mean well. They tell us all the reasons it won’t work. They let us know that there is no condemnation in quitting when it is so obvious we are whipped. The bad reports that discourage us almost always come from people who love us and don’t want to see us hurt. That is why we tend to believe them. Job 42:7
1. Revisit the vision: What did the Lord say when He started you on this journey. Habakkuk 2:2-4
2. Do maintenance on the equipment: Physical rest and proper diet will help you get your groove back. 1 Kings 19:5-6
3. Feed your heart with faith food: Get back in the Word and refill. You can’t live on yesterday’s manna. Deuteronomy 8:3
4. Hang with Joshua and Caleb: Love your well-meaning naysayers, but don’t spend all your time with them. Find a friend who believes in you and the God in you. Matthew 18:19
Somebody Said: Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there’s a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan. Charles Stanley
Scripture Reading: This is My command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
The children of Israel got discouraged when they compared themselves to the giants (Numbers 13:33). Remember, the battle is not about you and your strength, or the size of the challenge, or even your personal success or failure. The battle is always the Lord’s. It’s Him and His Promise. Keep it there. Don’t take it back.
Pastor Virgil Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson