“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.”Haggai 2:4-5
Satan often uses the tools of immorality and discouragement to move people out of the ministry and to get them off track. He knows we are vulnerable to these things, and he seeks to destroy and devour those who are doing anything for God. He is not interested in the souls of men or the wellbeing of families. Discouragement is something we have all encountered and it can be debilitating and ruin us if we allow it to. At times it does not take much to discourage us, and other times it takes many blows to finally knock us out. Satan knows who to use and how to use them, and I reflect on this verse when he attacks me through people whom I thought would never be the ones to knock me down.
Ephesians 6:12 states, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual wickedness in high (heavenly) places.” It is sometimes in the throes of ministry and amidst good, godly people that discouragement comes. We often find that those who work alongside us or those we have tried to help, say or do things that hurt or discourage us. Sometimes they have good intentions and sometimes they do not. Sometimes they are offended by something we have done or because of something they think we should have done. A leader is not always the glamorous position people think it is, and it is a position that Satan seeks to attack.
I have had the privilege of leading a ministry that deals with addictions and your personal walk with Jesus Christ. The ministry started in 2015 and we started with a small group of people. We have seen many people come and go, people whose lives have been changed, including my own. It has not always been moments of rejoicing as some have said and done things that have been personally hurtful and discouraging. I think some have meant well and others did not think at all. I know Satan is not happy with this ministry and there have been times when I have allowed him to discourage me. I have had a dear friend question my friendship with him even though I am not sure what I did to him and he has not shared that with me. We remain friends, but the closeness that I thought would never be broken has been compromised and questioned. This hurt me deeply and was quite discouraging, but I am learning to give these setbacks to the Lord.
I know that I wrestle not against flesh and blood, but it is the wicked one of this world. As these verses state, I am to continue in the work of the Lord and continue on in what God has called me to do. God has called me to this Friday night ministry, and He has given me a job to do. God gave me parents who taught me to press on in adversity as I can still hear my dad say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We can will ourselves to do things, but longevity only comes from the help of the Lord. He is the One we are working for, and He is the One who calls us to continue in the work He has called us to. He reminds us to not be afraid as He is ever with us in those moments of discouragement and in those times when we want to throw in the towel. Souls are depending on us and now is not the time to quit. The God who has called us is the One who promises to never leave or forsake us.
Are you discouraged today? Has a dear friend said something that has hurt you? Has someone said something that has prompted you to ponder if you should quit? Has Satan whispered to you thoughts that have discouraged you? As it has been said, “Never doubt in the night what God has shown you in the light.” May we continue in the work God has called us to, and may we not feat because He is ever with us. Let’s remain obedient in what He has called us to do and stay vigilant in the fight!