By Mike Divis
The story is told of Satan who once conducted a garage sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay the price. They were spread out on the table and each one was labeled – hatred, malice, envy, gossip, lust – all the weapons that everyone knows so well. But off to one side lay a harmless looking tool marked “discouragement.” It was old and worn looking, but was priced far above the rest.
When asked the reason why, Satan replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are bolted tightly against the others. Once I get inside man’s heart with this tool, I can easily use any other tool that best suits my purposes.”
Let’s ask ourselves, “What heroic and inspiring accounts were never written because Satan effectively used his tool of discouragement?” In God’s word, we find many sad stories of people who lost heart and gave up because of discouragement. For example, when Moses sent the spies into the land of Canaan, all but Caleb and Joshua came back with discouraging news. The fearful saw the size and strength of their opponents rather than remember the signs and strength of their God (Numbers 13-14).
After Peter vowed he’d never abandon Jesus, he fled with the rest when the Lord was arrested. He became so fearful that he denied he even knew Jesus (Matthew 26:31-75). Apparently, Timothy was discouraged to the point that he had become withdrawn and afraid of saying what needed to be said regarding the gospel message (2 Timothy 1:6-8). Thus, Paul reminded him:
II Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”
We become discouraged when we start paying more attention to obstacles than to opportunities. We become discouraged when we start believing the “father of lies” (John 8:44 ESV) instead of the Father “who cannot lie” (Titus 1:2).
Brethren, let’s remember that God can do great things with a heart that is His (Joshua 14:13-14; cf. Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:36). The question is, does He have our heart and mind or is the devil having his way with us? James has the solution for getting out of the devil’s clutches:
James 4:7 cf. Ephesians 6:11; I Peter 5:8-9
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”