Faith and discouragement – polar opposites
Do I believe that the Christian life described in the Bible is possible? It is so easy to become discouraged.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
After reading this scripture several times, I have concluded that the faith described here must be deeper than just believing that God exists. Otherwise it would be a bit confusing, because who would bother to “come to God” or seek “to please Him” without believing in God’s existence? No, the faith described here must be more than merely believing that God exists.
Believing that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” can truly help me in my life. I must believe that if I live according to the will of God and against sin and my own lusts, that He can do a work of transformation within me. There are things that have always been impossible for me, such as being patient, thankful, loving all people, not being disappointed or irritated; in all of these things, God can bring about a change so that I become completely new on the inside. I read that and maybe it is not so hard to believe that about other people, but when I search myself, it is easy for me to lose courage.
“But now it comes upon you, and you are weary; it touches you, and you are troubled.” Job 4:5.
Faith and discouragement cannot be combined
I have felt discouraged at times. The feeling often comes when I have received light – when I am suddenly aware of the sin that dwells in me. Then thoughts come about what a long way I still have to go. I cannot bear to see before me what a terribly long time it may take for me to finally be finished with my ugly tendencies. I think that I will never be able to manage it. Thoughts like this do not come from God; they are the work of the devil.
Faith or discouragement, discouragement or faith—these are two polar opposites. If I believe fully and completely in God’s work of transformation and that it can take place in me, is there then any reason for me to be discouraged? No, I cannot claim that I have faith if I doubt at the same time. Certain things simply cannot be combined! But how can I break free from that discouragement?
Arm yourself with faith
The answer is that I must arm myself with faith and use faith as a weapon against discouragement, which comes from doubt. “…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16. This is almost certainly what Abraham did when God promised him a son.
“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” Romans 4:19-21.
Abraham did not become discouraged even though God’s promise seemed completely unobtainable.
You must choose to believe and arm yourself with the shield of faith, because if you follow your own reasoning, you will be overtaken by discouragement quite quickly. “The shield of faith” is not merely believing in God’s existence, but in God’s power which is able to perform miracles in anyone. Irrespective of personality, my past, and my nature, anyone – including me – can become totally different with God’s help. God is mighty to do miracles. Faith in this is my weapon.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.