Joshua 1:9 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I heard an awesome sermon from Steve at St. Andrews a few months ago about how Satan’s greatest tool in the shed is Discouragement. How true is this? Even though Satan cannot read our minds, he can plant thoughts in our minds.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says “…we are taking every thought captive according to the obedience of Christ.” After reading this I was thinking… Ok,  so what kind of thoughts are we to take captive? Thoughts that come to your mind that are different to what God says about you? Thoughts that come to your mind that are different to what God says about Himself or about other people?

Thoughts can become actions; actions can become habits. Habits can create an overwhelming amount of discouragement. And it all starts with a thought. One thing I’ve learned is that God wants us to trust His Word more than we trust our feelings, more than we trust how things appear. God’s Word is truer than anything I may think, anything I feel. And certainly truer than how things appear. Gosh, how have I over-looked the reality of what God wants so many times?

It’s overwhelming to me how just one of Satan’s tools… the tool of discouragement can amount to all of this. By him just using that one, sometimes very effective tool we can just drown in horrible discouraging thoughts. Think about how Satan uses discouragement against us. If he can get us headed down the path of discouragement, he can lead us to despair and eventually to destruction. He let’s us wallow in negative thoughts that only leave us to self-pity or to become bitter.

Tonight, I was reflecting on this whole discouragement tool on my drive home from work. I talked to Hannah Alexander on the phone this evening and she mentioned something about how the positive side to my situation was that she hadn’t seen me in a few months and now I was able to re-connect with the girls more often. To be quite transparent and honest, the reason I had been separating myself from the community of girls was because I felt I didn’t really have anything great to bring to the table. I felt that no one really even missed when I’d skip out on bible study or dinners and I was more of just a tag-along, rather than an actual part of the group. I would purposely try and isolate myself. Satan also uses isolation to make you think you can do it on your own. Although, time alone is great… you need community. I love this scripture from Proverbs 27:17… As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. How true? L-O-V-E it!

How many negative thoughts go through your head daily? It’s scary to think about. Ok, now that you’ve thought about all the negative thoughts that consume your day-to-day life… how many times do you actually stop and pick out what the Devil’s thoughts are and what are God’s? It’s so easy to get confused. In my case the Devil was trying to discourage me and isolate me. He was planting thoughts that were so far from what was real and certainly what was true. He wanted me to believe this so when I was in a time of truly needing community and God, I would have nothing. Or at least I would believe I had nothing.

Right now, this is Satan’s greatest hold over me, especially as a pretty new Christian. But God has an even greater tool than Satan- The bible. It’s his living and breathing words to us.

Hebrews 4:12

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

It’s amazing to me that the thought even crossed my mind tonight. How do I really get over this whole discouragement thing and become encouraged? Seems like a no-brainer, but pray, pray, pray. And read, read, read. Talk to God and most of all- listen. So often I think I can do it on my own.

Somehow, I came across this link about 18 devices Satan uses against us… Ya’ll should check it out and see how many of these fit into your life.  Interesting.