IF YOU'RE DISCOURAGED--GET BACK INTO THE FIGHT!
An exhortation, through Nola Smith Nola's email: email@example.com
God has said much to us about prophetic and servant evangelism in the last five years. He has also raised up intercession in the Church as never before, resulting in more instances of His visitations to people groups and areas we call contemporary "hot spots". Whenever this happens, the people of God are unsatisfied with the results, always wanting more, much like the rich man who can't get enough money.
Unlike greed, this is a GOOD discontent because it keeps us praying and sharpens our desire to be effective vessels of God in and to a fallen world. If we don't give up on all fronts, we WILL see the promise of continued outpouring in the world such as it has never been seen.
THE OTHER SIDE OF "GODLY DISCONTENT"
If spiritual discontent or greed for more of God motivates us to continue to pursue God and the lost, then the enemy must look for another way to wear down the saints. One way He does this is to use the same motivator to discourage us: the godly discontent. How he does this is by introducing weariness and discouragement, sometimes through a focus on the souls that do NOT respond to the gospel, to those who do and then fall away. He "amazes" us with those who don't respond to the prophetic voice, to signs and wonders and miracles, or to the goodness and kindness of Christians. He, being the accuser of the brethren, will minister false accusation.
THE ACCUSER'S "ENCOURAGEMENT" TO US
He, [the accuser] will direct the accusations against our heart's motives, our sins and weaknesses, and the times that we did not obey or fully obey God. He will say, "this is why your sister, mother, son, neighbor, coworker have not come to God - you have not been bold (kind, obedient, prayerful) enough, and you never will be...why don't you just settle back into complacency again, relax, go back to the way you lived as a believer before you took up the challenge, it's just too hard and nobody listens anyway. Just sit back, pray some, read the Word some, go to church, love your family, teach your children and wait for Jesus to come...you know, like you used to!"
Truly, that would be less challenging, less confrontational, incur less personal suffering and require only minimal obedience and attention to the Spirit's voice. Additionally, it's just not fair to invest like this (in the spiritual) and seem to get so little back (in the natural)!
If you haven't heard this little nagging voice, you are either in a place of overcoming victory (write me and share the joy) or you aren't putting much of a dent in the kingdom of darkness. If, like me, you're somewhere in between, you've probably been tempted to listen to these thoughts in the last several weeks and you've thought about "slacking off".
FEEL LIKE YOU'RE THE ONLY UNRIGHTEOUS ONE?
Before you feel like you're the only righteous man or woman left and nobody listens to you anyway, I'd like to challenge you to - think of God.
I'll bet you think that if you could only more clearly demonstrate God's love and power, people would SURELY be drawn to Him, and then wouldn't they just NATURALLY want to get to know Him better, and then most CERTAINLY wouldn't they trust Him? Isn't that how it happened with you? So it must be that you just aren't doing something right, because people are rejecting you and rejecting the Word of truth, right?
Maybe, but not likely. Before you give up and believe that handling all this rejection is just too much for you, I'd like to invite you to - think of God.
THERE IS ONLY ONE RIGHTEOUS
Contrary to our high opinion of ourselves sometimes, our God is the only RIGHTEOUS ONE. He is the perfect teacher, the perfect parent, the perfect counselor, the perfect judge. He is the perfect giver, the PERFECT evangelist, the perfect pastor, the perfect healer, the perfect administrator. He is no respecter of persons, sends rain on the just and the unjust, is merciful to the unmerciful, protects those undeserving of protection, extends the lives of those who deserve to die. He is His own evidence.
This great and PERFECT God also experiences rejection each and every day by those He lives for, and those His Son died for. Daily He is slandered, lied about, persecuted, blasphemed, ridiculed, belittled and betrayed. This has been going on since before He created man: Even before Adam, there was one who was close to Him, who beheld His beauty continually, communed with Him, was intimately loved and cared for by Him, promoted and blessed beyond measure by Him - spoke to Him face to face and was part of the 'inner circle' of heaven with God. Yet this one betrayed Him and took 1/3 of the heavenly creatures away from God to follow himself. I imagine it all started with a seed of distrust and a sprinkle of evil suspicion.
SATAN BEGAN TO BELIEVE A LIE ABOUT GOD--THE SAME LIE HE TEMPTS YOU WITH
Satan began to believe a lie about God - about God's motives, about His character, about His love, and about His plans. Even with ALL the evidence in front of him to the contrary, even with all of His personal experience WITH God that denied any resemblance to this lie, he began to believe it. Believing one lie always leads to believing another: Soon he began to believe that God didn't want the best for His creatures and that someone could lead them better.
Not long after, he began to believe that "someone" was himself. He created a following and challenged the Creator of the Universe - reduced to the actions of the fool that he became, and suffering the punishment of the same. Jesus experienced the same thing - Judas was exposed to Jesus for three years, daily. Jesus did not do a single unselfish thing toward Judas, and was as much His friend and companion to Judas as to every other disciple. Judas saw all the same miracles, heard all the same teachings, observed all the same wonders and bathed in the same manifest Presence of God. Yet he began to entertain suspicion and distrust, and to believe lies about the Christ that included him in His "inner counsel"! Eventually Jesus experienced the greatest betrayal of all by this one that should have known Him, but chose NOT to know Him truly!
MAKE ME LIKE YOU, LORD
If you have prayed, "Oh Lord, make me more like Thee", and have, for that prayer, experienced greater submission to the voice of the Holy Spirit, greater victory, answered prayer, deeper intimacy and revelation and the deep, abiding peace that only comes from righteousness found in Him, you have experienced the "first half" of your journey in obedience. It's likely that you have also experienced at least SOME of the second part of the journey - the rejection and the suffering. Jesus said we would, and then He gave us the cure for the feelings and temptations that would follow suffering - He gave us the command to REJOICE AND BE GLAD!
APPLYING PRESSURE AGAINST THE ENEMY'S KINGDOM
Saints, it is time to increase praise and apply more, not less, pressure against the enemy's kingdom. Praise and thanksgiving truly ARE the wings that bear the Christian back up to the seats in heavenly places with Christ! There is a new anointing for praise and thanksgiving, and an invitation by the Holy Spirit to go deeper and higher with your personal and corporate praise!
It is time to accept misunderstanding and rejection as the common experience of the believer, for it is the common experience of God Himself, and of His Son. God does not feel insecure when He is rejected - He is confident about His true motives, His clean conscience, His true love, character and ability. He is not rattled or anxious or nervous. And He is not deterred from His purpose to spread the good news and to love all men equally.
SCATTERING SEED EVERYWHERE
Jesus, in the parable, said that the sower scatters the Word on ALL the soil-types...he doesn't worry about the condition of the soil or whether it responds, he just scatters good seed WHEREVER he goes. Even the harvest itself will always have both tares and true wheat growing up side-by-side until the end. If we worry about the condition of the harvest too much, we'll stop sowing seed and we'll give up working in the fields. Our job is not to focus on the condition of the soil or the integrity of the harvest - we are only called to sow seed and work in the fields, and to be no respecter of persons in the process.
When you feel discouraged, when you feel blue, when you want to give up, instead - press THROUGH! Begin to rejoice and give praise to the Lord. Clap your hands and jump and shout about what you DON'T see yet. Thank Him for the honor and privilege of carrying the good news throughout the earth as He enables you to do so. Thank Him for letting you do what little you have done. Ask Him for more. But don't give up, and let's stop murmuring and complaining like the generation of Israelites who died in the wilderness. Be like Joshua and Caleb - truly, my friends, the enemy is like a grasshopper in our sight, and we were born to kill giants!