There are two powerful darts that aim to shoot us down, snatch away dreams and inject poison into our hopes and tries to deflate our faith. Those darts are fear and discouragement. Have you ever got shot in the gut by one of these darts? Most of us experience the unpleasant effects of fear or discouragement when we are burning up to do God’s work. When we are on purpose and intentionally trying to live out God’s will for our life, that when the darts come flying out of nowhere.
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Some of you are probably licking your wounds as you read these words. Maybe it was just a few weeks ago that you had boundless energy to do God’s work. The path in front of you felt familiar because God had planted the seeds in your heart, to carry out his will and you felt fulfilled because that’s exactly what you were doing, then all of a sudden bam! You’re hit with a wave of fear, intimidation, pessimism and a stream of negative thoughts that scream how unworthy and ill-equipped you are to be on this path. After the fear gets cozy it ushers in discouragement. All the confidence and enthusiasm you were bursting with is slowly drained by the poisonous dart that has intentionally found its way to you.
Fear and discouragement are the heavy artillery used by the enemy to derail you and extinguish the fire you have as a follower of Christ. If you’ve been under attack you know how debilitating and paralyzing it is to your spirit. So, how do you loosen the grip of the enemy’s hold in your life?
Just as God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous he commands us to do the same. How can we do this when we can barely see above the fear that’s clouding our vision and the discouragement that invading our heart? We can only do it through the assurance that God is with us always. If God who is all-powerful, omniscient, never-changing, who is limitless in possibility is always with us then fear and discouragement are already defeated. The Lord is our shield protecting us from the darts of the enemy. Through our faith and assurance, our courage and strength are born. We can be encouraged by the knowledge of the scriptures that assure us that God has our back.
When I’m in my groove and on my path of purpose a huge mistake I make that gives the enemy a clear shot is when I become self-reliant. The courage and strength I experience in the beginning are born from Christ, but then that old prideful self-appears and foolishly I start to rely on my own abilities, skills, and strength, placing my protective shield in a corner. The enemy is crafty! When he sees I’ve taken off my armor he will take full advantage of my unprotected state, target my weaknesses and vulnerabilities with a full-on attack. Suddenly I’ve veered off course. I’m deflated, doubtful and feel like a balloon that’s been popped. All that zeal for God is replaced with a hesitancy to go forward. Ladies this isn’t what God wants for us!
The key to strength and courage is allowing it to pour in through Christ. Let him fill you with his blessed assurance, let him wipe away the tears of discouragement and resuscitate you with a heart of encouragement! You have nothing to fear as long as you continue to be rooted in Christ. We don’t have to be strong on our own, we can’t! We need the Lord of infinite power to permeate our life to be a force field against the darts of the enemy so that we can become the masterpiece the potter had always planned!
There are more days than less when I feel like anything but a conqueror. Instead of feeling like a conqueror, I feel weak, tired, less than, and defeated. There are days when I just want to put the covers over my head and simply give up because the day in front of me is so overwhelming that I don’t want to face it alone. When I slip into this pit of defeat, I’m reminded that it isn’t my strength, but through the strength of God who loves me that I will get through the day. Regardless of how stressful or impossible it appears to be, God lifts me up to higher ground.
I run into trouble when I throw on depend on myself. When I think that I’m in control and a conqueror of my own is when I realize how weak I really am without fully relying on the one who loves me. God created us to be conquerors, to withstand even the unspeakable trials that fall upon us and he empowers us to stand against the spiritual battles we face every day. When we accepted Christ we were endowed with the Holy Spirit and the real power that comes through Christ.
If you’re in a season that is getting the best of you, that is tearing you down I want you to read Roman 8:37 and remember that not only are you a conqueror through His love, you are MORE than a conqueror! Sweet sister, put your full faith in the Lord and you will see a mighty blessing take place. You will experience what God is able to do in any situation big or small through you! Meditate on this scripture and etch it in your heart and mind whenever you are doubtful and ready to give up. God isn’t finished with you he is just beginning and there is much to conqueror in your path, but you are equipped with an everlasting love and the most powerful ally that ever lived…Jesus Christ. Now, stand firmly in the conqueror God created you to be!
The Lord has been speaking to my heart to dive deeper into the scriptures, to look behind the words and their meanings to understand the context in a way that is powerful and applicable to my life. This scripture in Psalm 9:10 has three words that have been piercing my spirit in this season. The words are trust, seek, and forsaken. I want to give you my study notes as I let this Psalm sink into my mind and spirit.
Trust: To have confidence, to entrust, firm belief, reliability, the strength of someone or something. :
Seek: To search for, sought after diligently, to reach out, a desire to obtain, to resort to, to discover.
Forsaken: To leave behind in the sense of abandoning, to leave in straights or helpless, to set apart, to turn away from entirely or renounce.
There is no other word that brings more comfort than His Name…Lord. When we know His name, and really understand the significance of his name and who the Lord is in our life as our deliverer, our Father, and our Savior we should be overwhelmed with the assurance of his love.
We can trust in His name, meaning we can have complete confidence and a firm belief in the reliability of his strength in all our circumstances and in every season when we are weak. Our God is unchanging and stable in all his ways. We can believe in his promises and entrust to him every fear, uncertainty or hope we have because he will safeguard as only our heavenly Father can do.
God never leaves our side, even when we feel alone. It isn’t God that’s grown distant it is us. That’s why we need to diligently seek the Lord and the word that is life-giving. When I feel distant from God I have to ask myself have I stopped desiring Him, his word, his commands. Have I gotten lazy in discovering and digging deeper into who the Lord is to me?
We will experience seasons, where we will wonder, ‘where are you, God?’ In those difficult days, we have to remember His promise to never forsake us. God will never abandon you, renounce you, or leave you behind because His love for us is eternal. His death on the cross is an unbreakable bond of his love us in our sinful natural self. Even in the darkest days, you can trust that when you seek him and know his name that the Lord will comfort and keep you.
This election season has unfortunately brought out some unprecedented nastiness. Our nation is undeniably under attack not by another nation, but by our very own citizens. We have turned against one another in the most unloving of ways. It is as though a dark cloud filled with anger, frustration and fear is about to burst with an intensity that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that when we respond to each other with a gentle answer we can turn away wrath.Words carry power and that power can be used to build or to tear down, to draw near or to separate, to show respect or to disrespect. In this season of our nation, I pray that regardless of your political party affiliation, that we remember that our primary affiliation is being followers of Jesus Christ. As followers, let’s reflect his love towards all people, let’s answer with kindness and gentleness. If we have an opportunity to diffuse anger than let’s do it because we are all here together. So, before we get all fired up, let’s step back and ask, “What would Jesus do?”