Discouragement means loss of confidence or enthusiasm or dispiritedness, developing a cold feet. It is one of the weapons used by Satan in an attempt to deter us from serving God fully and achieving God’s purpose for our lives, and also to quench our zeal and passion for the things of God.
Discouragement is one of the fiery darts the devil uses to fight believers, to pull us down, to make us give up our calling and withdraw our pledge to abide in God’s will. Through discouragement Satan tries to make mock of our commitment and makes fun of our consecration and tries hard to kick out our faith in God.
“For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Heb 13:5-6
Has God entrusted something into your hands? Are you doing something in the service of God and you are discouraged? Cheer up! God said He will never leave you.
Elijah the man of God got discouraged at some point in his ministry. God has wrought many miracles through him. He has proved that the Almighty God is the only true God in the whole land of Israel and had slain all the prophets of Baal and ridiculed all the idolaters in the land. The devil also tried to discourage him from pulling down his evil throne and tried to put Elijah on the run. A mere threat to his life from ordinary Jezebel brought hopelessness to him and made him lie low.
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a Juniper tree : and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. I Kings 19:4
This great man got to the state of despondency that he wanted to die. But praise God! Whenever God gives us the the power both to will and to carry out a specific assignment for Him, the beautiful part is that, the Lord who called us to do the work also gives the power and all that we need to do it.
God sent His angels to Elijah to feed, strengthen and reassure him of God’s presence with him. And God kept asking him as he continued to flee, “what doest thou here, Elijah?” And Elijah kept repeating the same thing that brought him to the wilderness:
“And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine alters, and slain thy prophet with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” I Kings 19:10
Probably, God was asking him, “how on earth did you get to this state, you are not supposed to be running away, you are supposed to continue your work, why are you here, Elijah? When there are more work to do for me. I have sent my angels to feed you, is that not enough encouragement for you, why are you still here?” God further strengthened Elijah and gave him more work to do.
Just be a Vessel
Judges 6 opens with the story of Gideon, a man of valour as called by God. Being called by God to do something most of the time points out our inadequacies and need for more clarity just like we see in the life of Gideon. Gideon kept going back to God to confirm his calling. God always keeps His word and He is ever faithful to anyone that will follow Him. God kept reassuring Him
“And the Lord said unto Gideon, the people that are with thee are too many for me to give the midianites into their hands, lest Isreal vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine hand hath saved me. Jud 7:2
Is there any task God has given you to do? God already has it all planned out – you are just a vessel. So God told Gideon He was going to fight an already won battle. In any assignment God has given you to do, just yield everything to Him and see yourself as a mere instrument.
With all the victory given to Gideon in battle so many things surfaced to discourage him.
“And he [Gideon] said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me ; for they be faint and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmuna, kings of Midian. And the prince’s of Succoth said, are the hands of Zebah and Zalmuna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?” Jud 8:5-6.
One would think that since Gideon is fighting their common enemy they should give him every support. Thank God, this did not even deter him and he continued to pursue despite the disappointment and God gave him the victory. So it is also when we are in the battle for the truth and the right, we must keep on the firing line. So many things will want to discourage us even on the path of active obedience, people and things we least expect.
May God grant us strength and courage in all the things He has commissioned us to do for Him.