“You ever get discouraged?” I asked Stan one morning.
“Discouraged about what?” he responded.
“Well,” I replied, “it seems like you spend a lot of time trying to help other people with their faith walk. Do you get discouraged when they don’t respond as you think they should?”
“Only when I focus on myself, rather than on God,” Stan said.
“How so?” I asked.
“Let me give you an example,” Stan replied. “Before we moved here, we were quite involved in the church in our old town. At one point, the pastor asked me to put together a class on discipleship.”
Continuing, he said, “After seeking God’s guidance with that, I agreed to do such a class. I put together a plan for going from the basics of Christianity on to greater spiritual maturity. I spent a lot of time preparing for each class.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“I got discouraged.” Stan replied. “The class started out with a number of people, but it kept dwindling until there was only a handful of people each week.”
“Did you stop having the class?” I asked.
“I considered it,” Stan replied. “I talked to the pastor about what was going on, I talked with him about my discouragement, and about stopping the class.”
“What did he say?”
“He asked if there was at least one person who was there each week. I told him there was a handful of regulars.”
“And then,” Stan continued, “he told me it was not up to me how many people were in the class. He told me my role was to present the class. God would take care of the results of my obedience.”
“Did that encourage you?” I asked.
“It certainly did,” Stan replied. “I approached the class with a renewed sense of purpose to help as many as God sent.”
“Did God send more people into the class?” I asked.
“He did not,” Stan replied. “The number of regulars stayed about the same, but they really grew in their understanding of and commitment to being disciples.”
“Every single one of them,” Stan continued, “went on to different places to conduct their own discipleship classes. I have often thought about what would have happened, or not happened, if I had followed the path of discouragement Satan had for me.”
Concluding, he said, “My role is to be obedient and leave the results of that obedience to God. He knows a whole lot more than I do about what it is He is going to accomplish for His purposes!”
Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1.
If you love Me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15.
You are My friends, if you do what I command you. John 15:14.
Prayer: Thank you. Father, for the encouragement of knowing you have provided all I need for when my time here is done and I step into eternity to be with you forever. Thank you, too, for your provision of all I need on this side of eternity while I wait for the train. Thank you for having work for me to do in working out the salvation you have worked in. I confess that too often I do not pursue what you have for me to do because I choose not to do it. I also fall victim to Satan’s discouragement. I fail to recognize that he does not want me to be doing what you have for me to do. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead into fully surrendered obedience to all you have for me to be and to do. Please help me to be encouraged by you, not discouraged by anything contrary to you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: When God has work for us to do for Him, Satan will try every trick to discourage us from doing it. Have you experienced that? If so, what was your response? Were you able to overcome Satan’s discouragement? Why or why not? What does it look like to always seek the encouragement of God in being who and in doing what He intends? Do you recognize that discouragement is part of Satan in being “the father of lies”?