"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
I heard the following story on Christian radio this last week:
The devil decided to have a garage sale. He laid all of his well-used tools, each with its own price tag, out on the table. All of those he used regularly against humanity were there: lust, malice, greed, hatred, envy, pride, deceit, and so on. But there was one tool that had its own table. This tool looked the most worn from use of all the other tools. Those walking by the table were astonished at the exhorbitant price the devil was asking for it.
The tool was discouragement.
People were puzzled and wanted to know why this one tool surpassed the others in use and value. Satan snidely replied:
"This tool is the one which I can hide behind the most. I can enter my victims' minds and so convince them of their worthlessness, stupidity, and fear that they don't even realize it's me who is planting those thoughts. Those thoughts become the truth them, even though they are lies. Before any major damage can happen to my kingdom, I can thwart the best God-given plan before it ever has time to become a reality. Discouragement affects all human beings, no matter how close to God they are. I can convince almost anyone that he or she is not in a close relationship with Him through this one tool."
My darling sister, Satan has used this tool over and over again with me. I never have been more prone to discouragement than in the last several months. It has been a fight! Even though I have pleaded with God in prayer. Even though I have searched my heart again and again over the path that I have clearly thought He was leading me down. There is nothing more terrifying to me than silence. When there is no visible confirmation that He is working. When I ask for some kind of reassurance and none is given. Then the voice of the accuser threatens to drown and kill my courage to do what God has asked me to do.
I learned about the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6 when I was a little girl. My kids know a song that has helped them memorize the various parts of the armor. We used to sing it a lot together:
Put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil's schemes,
Put on the full armor of God and read Ephesians 6:11.
Put on the helmet of salvation,
The breastplate of righteousness,
The belt of truth and the shoes of peace,
The shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
But it is Ephesians 6:13 that I has struck me afresh through all the struggling I have done in not seeing God work the way I thought He would or should:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Has the day of evil come in your marriage, your relationship with your kids, your friends, your church? Girlfriends, our God is calling us to stand! If we have fallen down or been slammed down, we must get up and fight! After we have pleaded with Him, prayed according to His will, and have walked forward into the steps that He Himself has ordained for us, we must stand. If we have done everything we know how to do, if we are trying to live blamelessly before Him, we must stand! God has not abandoned us, but He is testing us to see if we will persevere--to see if His Word is truth to us instead of the lies of discouragement that Satan wants us to believe.
Let's stand today on the promises of our God who never discourages us, but infuses us with courage. May our souls hear today, "I am your salvation," from the mouth of the One who has written our every day in His book. Refute those lies in the Name above all names--Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died and rose again so that we can be part of His unshakable kingdom--a kingdom that will never end.
Jesus, give me discernment to know how to hear Your voice which always encourages me. Help me to stand and wait to see Your salvation.