“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”Ephesians 6:10-12
Courage is the ability to do something despite fear and having strength in the face of grief or pain. Discouragement is on the other side of the courage coin. Discouragement comes from the French, descouragier. Des- means away, Couragier means courage. Add the suffix -ment, which forms a noun expressing the means or result of an action, to the English word discourage and there you have it: discouragement.
Discouragement is something that means to take you away from courage. It’s deliberate. It inspires false-humility, idolatry, and most obviously, fear and doubt. Discouragement doesn’t just show up and say hello. It’s like poo. It smells, permeates everything, everyone knows when it’s around, it gets everywhere. Discouragement is the poo king.
Discouragement is also a talker. It’s that person who calls you and never stops talking. You try with all your might to get off the phone, but to no avail. It doesn’t just talk, though. It’s a negative talker. This subtle tyrant will talk you out of everything good. It’ll keep your mind focused on your problems, your victim-hood, and the lack of love it says God has for you. Discouragement is a jerk. It’ll kick you while you’re down and never let you up again.
Here’s the thing about discouragement, though: it only has the ground you give it. Discouragement isn’t something you can’t fight. God is the ultimate encourage…er. His Word provides encouragement. It means to encourage. Sometimes that encouragement is encouraging you to quit your whining and setting things up above Him. Sometimes it’s showing you His lavish love for you. Either way, when you’re down He is the lifter of your head.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”Ephesians 6:13
Fighting and defending yourself against discouragement is a purposeful action. You must put on the armor of God and pray your heart out. Pray all day long, every day, and as often as you can. Not only when you’re fighting discouragement, but to prepare for the next day, the next week, the next crisis, you must be in constant prayer.
Finally, you must take every thought captive. There are going to be so many things flung at you from discouragement, it might as well be a monkey in the zoo. Every thought that raises itself above the truth of God (understand why the belt of truth?) must be brought down. Each thought that disagrees with the Word and with God’s character must be taken captive and surrendered to the King of Kings as a prisoner of war. Even if you have to verbally take it captive, do it. Sometimes I have to say, “Nope! Not today!” Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Prayer: Father, I’m fighting discouragement right now. I can tell I’m focusing on the negative and becoming overwhelmed in the heat of the battle. I know discouragement is a fear-monger and a liar, but I am struggling. Help me suit up with Your armor and learn to pray more diligently. Teach me to be a warrior; a prayer warrior in my life and that of my family. Help me to stand my ground and not let thoughts of discouragement fill my mind and steal my joy. Thank You for fighting my battles and keeping me strong. I submit every thought to You, Lord. You are so good to me! Amen.