January 21, 2005
Discouragement can be the result of many different causes, but Satan is always the instigator. He will do anything he can to dishearten us and keep our focus on negative things instead of on God.
A subtle form of spiritual discouragement is the idea that we cannot please God. This is one of the Devil's traps, and too many Christians are ensnared by it. If we were to write down everything we thought we must do to please God, how long would that list be before it was complete? We would assume we should read the Bible more, pray more, give more, witness more. We could probably fill up both sides of that paper. Then we would look at our list and realize it is impossible to accomplish all of it. That's the trap. What pleases the Lord is our obedience, not our adherence to a long checklist of duties.
Unanswered prayer is another source of discouragement. When we make a request of the Lord, He doesn't necessarily answer in the manner we want or with the timing we prefer. When that is the case, we far too often will allow discouragement to creep in, and from there, we might decide to give up on prayer.
Yesterday we saw that focusing on God is essential for breaking the chains of discouragement. When you turn to the Lord, it is also helpful to pray three things aloud. First, thank Him for being with you through the discouragement. Second, admit He is in control of your life. And third, acknowledge that He is good and will ultimately work the circumstances for your benefit.
On Jan. 2, 2005, Dr. Stanley begins a ten-week series entitled "Landmines in the Pathway of the Believer" that identifies and helps you disarm the spiritual landmines in your life. For more information, including television listings and airtimes, visit www.landminesofthebeliever.com.
For more about this topic and many more, be sure to visit the "Exploring the Bible" section of intouch.org. http://www.intouch.org/myintouch/exploring/index_76118.html