What a great way to challenge our priorities! That is one thing discouragement does, but before we look at the benefits, I want to briefly look at several other issues that we will look at in detail in later Devos.
Remember discouragement is not a sin, but if you stay there – it will become sin
What causes us to remain until we allow sin to take control? There are two basic causes: Lack of light - ignorance of Truth and Willful decision - not willing to learn.
The foundation for both of these is a problem with faith, we either
a. Believe a lie of Satan
b. Do not believe a promise of God
I will look at this in detail in future Devos, but right now I want to discuss the benefits of discouragement. Yes, that sounds strange, but it is not that strange, when given some thought.
Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”
In what has to be the greatest story of testing ever recorded, Job had everyone turn on Him, including his wife. However, he made it clear what was really important:
Job 2:10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Paul shares about the trials of life:
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
What he does is point out that the discouragements of this world only help us appreciate what we will experience in eternity! I realize this won’t sell very well for many of the “big names” on TV church today, but that’s because they don’t study the Word of God, they manipulate it. Discouragement brings a light to our life about what is REALLY important.
George Sweeting puts it this way - "The Main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."
How? Paul shows us:
Romans 7:22–24 I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
The struggle against sin is so great that it brings Paul to the end of himself! But notice, the answer is there.
Romans 7:25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Even the discouragement of sickness or a weakness can be used as a benefit; Paul when speaking about his “thorn in the flesh” stated:
2 Corinthians 12:8–10 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
According to a sixteenth-century spiritual classic by St. John of the Cross titled “ The dark night of the soul.” Based on the night scenes described in the Song of Songs, the book tells how the child of God enters into deeper love and faith by experiencing temporary darkness and seeming separation from God. Discouragement is no fun…but its benefits can produce a deeper faith.