by Pastor Tim Burt
There are the wonderful times in life when everything just seems to go great and life is like a bowl of cherries (I heard that expression somewhere.) But then, because of the demonic influence that Satan and sin has upon this world that worms its way into and affects all our lives, there are times in life when all does not go well. I've never known a person who hasn't gone through difficult times at different seasons of their life. Satan tries to bring trouble to our life to wear us down, bring us to a low point, convince us that God doesn't love us and spews the lie—God is a joke and He doesn't love you because if He did, you wouldn't be experiencing the trouble your facing now!
Satan's desire is to get us to slip into discouragement and depression so will attempt to escape reality through alcohol, drugs, sex, or some kind of vice and quit reaching out to others with God's love. His ultimate goal is to bring us to total discouragement and hopelessness in order to tempt us to give up on our faith and abandon God completely. Am I exaggerating this? Not at all! It happens to people daily! God has used Fresh Manna to pull countless people out of that deceit and help them back on track with God.
Struggles can become like dominoes falling—one problem triggering another. It doesn't take long before self-doubts, discouragement, and feelings of failure come knocking at the door of your mind.
When a person is feeling down, it's important to realize that this is when the devil would like to come in and deliver the deathblow. It's bad enough that you are beating yourself up for what is not going right in your life. To compound that, the devil will come along and accuse you and provide confirmation that your problems are all your fault! He'll convince you that every problem is a direct result of your lack of obedience to God. He'll assure you that you are a loser—that you have chased God out of your life because of the lack of priority you have given Him. And then the deathblow—he'll speak those words, You have no right to even call yourself a Christian much less a person that can be used of God.
Back when Promise Keepers was sweeping the country, many Pastors became very transparent in their personal struggles. They confessed that they were ministering to other people about things they were themselves struggling with. They would confess how the devil tormented them calling them hypocrites and fakes. They would testify that the warfare was so great that they became convinced they needed to give up their ministry. Let me tell you that if every one of us gave up representing God when we were struggling through an area of our life, the Body of Christ would be at an absolute standstill or become completely non-existent!
2 Corinthians 5:21 tells how we become righteous and worthy before God. It says, "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right and the righteousness of God through Christ." Romans 5:17 tells us that righteousness—to be in right standing with God is a gift. Philippians 3:9 says, "I no longer count on my own righteousness through perfect obedience to God's word; no, I have become righteous through faith in Christ." For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith and that is exactly why the devil works to discourage you, make you feel unworthy, and then convince you that you are.
When the devil tells you that you are useless and that you should quit, remember what Ephesians 6:17 tells us. "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." The helmet of salvation reminds us that it was God's doing, not our own ability to become and to stay righteous in His eyes. Salvation is a gift. The ability to be seen righteous by God is a gift. The symbolism of the helmet is to remind us of who we are in Christ and to guard our minds from the enemies attacks to make us feel inadequate and unusable and unworthy of God's love! Thank the Lord that He sees our sins covered by the sacrifice and blood of His Son Jesus!
The bottom line—don't quit trying to touch and help others with God’s love—even when you are struggling. As a matter of fact, that is a great time to reach out.
God will use your efforts to get your mind off of you and help someone else. He'll probably have you speak things that will encourage and strengthen your own heart! Over time you’ll get a personal victory in one area, and then another and another if you don’t quit serving God! And you will have been a blessing to others all along the way!
So, when things get tough and turmoil comes, pray and trust that God will see you through it. And be strengthened by the touch of God that comes to you in your troubles as you are a blessing to others! As a mentor taught me early on, When you don't quit, you win!
Romans 8:38 (NLT) "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt