The spirit of discouragement can be very disabling. It can cause one to become apathetic about everyone and everything. I don’t think it’s the same as depression. There is a spirit of depression. Discouragement is very sneaky. I guess they all are!
Jesus said “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT
The evil power of the air is out to destroy all of us who are sharing God’s Word, and it is written in James 4:7-10 “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” NLT
Everyone quotes “resist the devil and he will flee from you!” As he did when Jesus resisted him in Matthew 4:1-11 when Jesus spoke God’s Word to the devil when he tempted Him.
Mt. 4:4 “4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Mt. 4:7 “7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
Mt. 4:10-11 “10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
But it’s not just about resisting and speaking the Word. It’s also about humbling ourselves before God! James said it twice. We can’t do anything without God’s help. We first must humble ourselves before God. Boy, how we do miss out when we try to do things without first humbling ourselves before God! No wonder many Christians are not getting anywhere. We are thinking it’s just by speaking God’s Word and “resisting” but it’s first and foremost about humbling ourselves before God, and then resisting and speaking God’s Word. We can’t do nothing without Him in it first.
And, if you’re truly repenting, there should be a time for gloom and deep grief. I’ve heard people say “Don’t let the devil steal your joy!” But there truly is “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 NLT
Moses and Aaron could have been discouraged, but they were actually talking to God, so they didn’t give up, even when Pharoah changed his mind ten times!
Exodus 9:1 “1Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.” KJV
This was the fifth time God sent Moses back to Pharoah with the demand “Let my people go.” By this time, Moses may have been tired and discouraged, but he continued to obey. Is there a difficult conflict you must face again and again? Don’t give up when you know what is right to do. As Moses discovered, persistence is rewarded.
1 Samuel 1:10 “10And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” KJV
I suggest reading all of verses 1:9-18. Hannah had good reason to feel discouraged and bitter. She was unable to bear children; she shared her husband with a woman who ridiculed her (1:7); her loving husband could not solve her problem (1:8); and even the high priest misunderstood her motives (1:14). But instead of retaliating or giving up hope, Hannah prayed. She brought her problem honestly before God. Each of us may face times of barrenness when nothing “comes to birth” in our work, service, or relationships. It is difficult to pray in faith when we feel so ineffective. But, as Hannah discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work (1:19, 20).
1 Samuel 1:18 “18And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” KJV
Earlier Hannah had been discouraged to the point of being physically sick and unable to eat. After speaking to the priest, she returned home well and happy. The change in her attitude may be attributed to three or four factors: (1) She honestly prayed to God (1:11); (2) she received encouragement from Eli (1:17); (3) she resolved to leave the problem with God (1:18); (4) she believed her prayer was answered because the priest (Eli) said “May God grant it.” Perhaps this is the antidote for discouragement: Tell God how you really feel and leave your problems with Him; then trust that God’s will for you is best, no matter how He handles your problems, and rely upon the support of good friends and counselors, while waiting on God.
Now, I’m content to let God lead, because He knows the future, He knows what each one of us will do and He knows our thoughts and intents of our hearts. I'm letting Him lead. Isn’t that what Jesus tried to teach us? He said “follow me.”
John 12:26 “26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
So, where You lead me Lord, I will follow, I will follow, follow You.