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Vol.  10  No. 9 September 2008  Page 18
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Robert JohnsonDon't Give Up

By Robert Johnson

Satan is a master of discouragement. It is one of his most often used tools in trying to undermine the faith of Christians, of creating the feeling of defeat, of separating one from a daily walk with God. One can be discouraged about situations at home, at work, in the world around us, in the church in general or the local congregation of which one is a part, and even discouraged about oneself.

Many times the discouragement we feel in life comes from unrealistic and/or unfulfilled expectations. Why did Jezebel’s threat against Elijah discourage him so that he ran away, especially after the victory on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 19:1-18)? The victory gained didn’t result in a change of heart in her or Ahab; the reality didn’t meet his expectations. Why did Peter become so discouraged that Jesus exhorted him to serve Him again following His resurrection (John 21:15-19)? Peter had believed he would never deny Jesus, yet from fear did that very thing (John 18:15-18, 25-27). Likewise, it is for us as well. How we believe others will respond doesn’t turn out as we thought or desired. Situations we encounter in life aren’t always what we wish they would be. We discover we don’t respond ourselves as we should at critical times in our lives. What we anticipate turning out differently than what we want is a major factor in becoming discouraged.

Perhaps what we need to consider at such times in our lives is what God expects of us. Unrealized expectations don’t mean God has abandoned us. God wants us to trust in Him no matter what situations we face in life. The external circumstances of life can challenge us, but nothing can force us to give up on God or living for Him, other than ourselves. Satan wants to create doubt in God’s goodness, in our relationship with others, in ourselves. In reality, God never stops loving us, caring and providing for us. Consider the words of Paul: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). God doesn’t give up on us; we shouldn’t give up on God.

Hard times, difficult trials, changes in relationships, life turning out differently than we anticipated, none of these things stop God from loving us. None of these things indicates God is displeased with us or has abandoned us. God is omniscient, but we are not. We can’t know what directions life will take, but we can know the constancy of God for us. As the Hebrew writer encouraged his readers, so it is for us. “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews. 10:36). While the externals of life constantly change, our love for God and commitment to Him must not. God is always there for us, especially when we feel discouraged.

Satan will use every technique available to him to destroy us, but his influence over us is only that which we allow him to have. Our challenge is not to allow life to defeat us, but to remember God is always for us, always with us and always loving us. Don’t let Satan deceive you into letting go of God! Don’t be discouraged because life doesn’t meet your expectations, as we have no way to predict what happens in life. We can have confidence, no matter what, that God knows and offers us nothing but His best. “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

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