34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Discouragement and appealing to the sinful pride within each of us, are the enemy’s two favorite tactics to use against mankind.
Discouragement hinders us from making a life change because of the fear of being rejected, or a lack of trust.
Pride hinders us from making a life change, because of the feeling of self-sufficiency, or a desire to avoid accountability
As we look at the Book of Genesis, we see that God created Adam and Eve in His image, and gave them dominion over everything created on the earth. The Creator also, bestowed to them great wisdom, because Adam was able to name all of the animals. In spite of all that God had given them, how was it that Satan was able to corrupt them?
He discouraged them from believing that God was being honest with them, in regards to eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve had everything they needed, however their act of disobedience not only affected them, but also every other person. Likewise, when we allow ourselves to succumb to discouragement and the sinful pride within each of us, the results can be devastating to our life and those around us.
Many of us will project a false exterior, in order to hide the inner turmoil that we are facing. Some of us will wear an outward smile to mask the inner sadness that we are dealing with. Others may project a sense of confidence and toughness, while inwardly being overcome by anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. This tactic may help to “keep other people out of our business”, or give others the impression that we are the picture of success, however while man can only see the outward appearance, God is fully aware of what is truly going on within each of us.
I Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
So how can we deal with discouragement and avoid allowing our pride to run amuck?
WE MUST EXAMINE OUR LIFE, AND BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHAT WE SEE:
I am reminded of the parable of the prodigal son.(Luke 15:11-32) After squandering all of his inheritance, this once wealthy, young man finds himself eating with the pigs. It is at this time that he begins to consider his predicament. It is at this point that the young man has a few options. 1). He can wallow in self-pity; choosing to remain in this predicament 2). Allow sinful pride to led him to choose to remain in this predicament, as a result of not wanting to have to admit that he’s made some bad decisions.
The lesson here is that he chooses a third option. This man humbles himself, and decides to return to his father with a repentant heart.
The discontent, we feel emerges from one of three things:
• the inability to accept ourselves as God created us. The talents, personality, and physical attributes we’ve been given may not be what we desire, but they are exactly what we need to follow God’s will for our life. Dwelling on what we lack or what we’d change distracts us from serving Him.
• A reluctance to deal with our past. We may have painful memories or recall mistakes that brought us heartache. Only when we admit their impact and confront any resulting emotional or psychological issues can we move on in peace
• A refusal to deal with behaviors or attitudes that are outside the Lord’s will. Holding on to an ungodly spirit or a bad habit will often lead to the useless practice of repeatedly trying to justify ourselves to our heavenly Father and those around us.
Attempting to solve our internal problems with human solutions will fail every time.
Like the Prodigal Son’s father, God is always watching and waiting for us to come to Him with a sincere and repentant heart, and welcomes us home with open arms.
It is only when we reach out to God, and trust in Him to give us the strength and guidance to make the necessary changes, that we are able to start down the road to overcoming our internal battles.
As I think of our battle within, I am reminded of the movie Rocky III. At the beginning of the movie, Rocky Balboa is the confident Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. He has come a long way, since his humble lifestyle from the first two movies. Now he wears three piece suits, drives sports cars, and is beloved by legions of fans. The issue is that, Rocky’s newfound fame has made him very prideful, and he has stopped training as hard as he once did. It is at this time that a new contender enters the picture in the form of Clubber Lang. Lang is able to take advantage of Rocky’s lack of training and focus, and defeats the Italian Stallion.
With the aid of his former rival, Apollo Creed, and the encouragement and sound advice of Rocky’s wife, Adrian, Rocky is able to: let go of his pride, refocus his mind, recommit to his training, and ultimately defeat Lang in their rematch.
Like Rocky Balboa, in order to overcome the giants within us, we must commit to training our mind in the things of God.
We do this by:
• Studying the Word of God to nourish our spirit, and renew our mind
• Seeking God through prayer, which is a demonstration that we are acknowledging that we can not make it on our own and are looking to God for guidance in performing His will in our life
• Interacting with other believers for encouragement and accountability
In the movie, Apollo encouraged Rocky to get the Eye of the Tiger, but in order to overcome the giants within us we must get the Mind of Christ(I Corinthians 2:16), which means we understand God’s plan in the world to bring glory to Himself and provide salvation to sinners. In addition, it means that we share Jesus’ perspective of: humility and obedience to God the Father, compassion, and prayerful dependence on God.
And now when confronted by thoughts of Discouragement and Sinful Pride, we are ready to begin fighting back.
1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Just as God tested Job, He will test our faithfulness prior to bestowing great blessings to us. We can also, rest assured, that Satan will make many more attempts to draw us away from God.
When confronted by Discouragement and/ or the temptation to fall back into sinful pride, we can fight back in three ways:
The Word of God
When the enemy comes at us again, we can do just like Jesus(Matthew 4:1-11). We can fight back with the Word of God:
“Devil, I know that you have come to steal my joy, kill my purpose, and destroy my destiny…BUT my faith and trust is secure in the One who has come to give me life more abundantly…Jesus Christ!” (See John 10:10)
Therefore, It is written..
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11)
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30).
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7).
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).
John 17 is a great example of how we should seek God on how we can better bring glory to His name, and make intercession on behalf of the unsaved and our brothers & sisters in the faith.
Praise & Worship:
When we acknowledge God for who He is, and the many blessings He has showered upon us, we are reciprocating His love.
Every temptation, test, and trial that we overcome serves to build up our faith and trust in God, and as our faith increases we are able to testify to others of how God helped us overcome the giants within us, and how He can help them do the same.
Someday, we will stand before Jesus Christ, may we all strive to hear Him say, “Well Done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good