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Battling Discouragement

by Skip Heitzig |
There's an old story that the devil and his demons were having a meeting. The demons asked him what his most potent tool was to stop mankind from doing God's will. The devil told them it was discouragement. He said if he quit using everything else, he could still stop the work of the Lord if he were able to depress and discourage God's people.

The story is non-biblical and it's very simplistic, but it points up an important truth. Discouragement can sometimes be a tool of the enemy, and it can be a very effective one.

Take a look at Nehemiah, chapter 4. Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem. Their enemies had them surrounded. They ridiculed the work that had been done, saying that a fox could knock down the wall if it only leaned against it. Further, they were planning an attack. Between the toil and the danger, the people were bone tired. They saw the immensity of the task, and they were becoming discouraged.

Life is like that. It's not "a miracle a day" or "a song of celebration all the time," like you might hear on some Christian broadcasting. Discouragement arises, and Christians aren't immune to it. If you're prone to discouragement, try your best to avoid negative people, because they will bring you down to their level.

So, the people were thinking that the job was too big, and they were ready to quit. Fear is contagious--but so is faith. Look at Nehemiah's words in verse 14: "And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'"

Nehemiah rallied them, and they returned to the work. One half of them would work while the other half stood guard in full armor. And the workers had their swords strapped to their sides (see v. 15-18). They were builders, but they were fighters also.

Like them, we are "separated on the wall." We need to rally together and get encouragement, and to get our "marching orders" from our Commander, the Lord. So here's my question for you today: Are you becoming tired and discouraged as you work for the Lord? Is some task weighing you down, making you feel that the world is crashing in around you?

Remember, it's the Lord's battle. Align yourself with God and His purposes. Get your eyes off the problems and onto the true and living God. In the words of Nehemiah, "Remember the Lord, great and awesome... Our God will fight for us" (v. 14, 20).

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig

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