“Now chastening for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it. Because of this, straighten up the hands which hang down and the enfeebled knees. And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. Follow holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord”, Heb.12:11-14.
There is this kind of discouragement outside God, when it is God who is opposing us, and there is the discouragement which emerges while God is with us. In both ways, there is but one thing to do: we must near God. We will be talking here about discouragement among people who are made clean already, having confessed and done away with obvious sin and sinfulness inside them.
Inner tiredness and a failing frail spirit are signs of stubbornness and unwillingness towards whatever seems obvious and plain to God, but not so to man. It is man opposing a living God who is quiet in His love. God never gives in, not even when it looks as if He does for some reason. On the other side, there is no reason for anyone to despair concerning the outcome of his whole life if that same life is indeed handed over and given to God the way it should be done. There are hypocrites who believe they handed over that which they hold on to still, such who do not wish to be delivered from themselves but feel that the gospel saves self. Discouragement emerges when there is still love for self easily available and at hand. If and when any life is indeed given over to God and granted unto Him, the amount of discouragement reveals the amount of love towards self there still is, and that in practice and in precise measures.
If your work is done for God, whether you are an engineer or a street sweeper, if whatever you do it is done for the Lord, if you are indeed able to perceive that God needs people who do any kind of work unto Him as someone who preaches the gospel anywhere else, there is, then, but one option left: do it gladly and unto the Lord indeed. Your joy in it shall be your only reward.
Because people love themselves greatly, they try to do things for the Lord so as to receive something else as the reward they are secretly aiming after. I do not mean God’s reward is not with Him, nor that He does not bring it along with and through Him. I am saying that there might be a secret motivation inside everyone who might look and believe himself faithful enough to receive back from God. We see right through the Bible that most people who received from God seldom expected to be rewarded that way. David never expected to become king, Samuel was born without an option about God’s will and his mother’s vow, the apostles never expected to be whatever they became later on. They only expected God to be theirs working with and through them.
Anyone who gets discouraged having been cleansed through God before and that without a shadow of any doubt, has certain expectations towards and about God which God will never fulfil. Nevertheless, there is a promise of God and there is the attaining of it as soon as we are people in whom the promise will be able to abide with and through. The promise and the attaining of it are never the same thing, though. And both of those are just as different from wishes and expectations about God to come to fulfil self through holy pearls and blessings so it should be able to eat from the tree of life and live sinfully forevermore. In fact, there is a prophet for a prophecy, there is a heart beneath and above holiness, there is God above the heavens, there is an abiding heart to receive whatever God may have promised. Without being inside as God determines and demands, there is no promise fulfilled, there won’t be any kind of thinking and believing through experience that God is indeed faithful. We read “with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the crooked You will show Yourself perverse”, Ps.18:26.
Should we give up on whatever God has promised because we may come to find ourselves crooked inside in some way? No, I believe not. To give up on that would be a crime indeed. One should rather look at the promises more vividly and reason out why those are delayed, postponed, deferred or even done away with for good. There must be something wrong in man to cause God not to grant whatever He may have promised or was on the verge of promising unto him, taking man to think and believe God is not faithful at all, “showing Himself crooked”.
We know that the holiest man on earth is not that man that merely abstains from looking and confiding on sin and sinfulness, but rather any man who lives in the world and heaven still abides in him right through. Paul went back to his Pharisees to bring Christ unto them. In the same way, I believe that a prostitute who goes back to her former clients to bring the gospel with a clear heart and spotlessness from heaven, is a holier person that such who may refuse to think about her former clients out of a piercing and newly attained morals concerning the issue of loose living. The holiest man is such who enters into a market place where drink is sold and he finds himself hating alcohol, if alcohol was his former slave owner.
We find Hannah in the Old Testament desiring after a child. We know Samuel was granted unto her. But we know, also, that her requests and desires for a son were soaked with bad motivation and selfishness against her enemy and co-wife to Elkanah, 1Sam.1-2. Because she was greedy and selfish concerning a child, she went to God. Because God met her request, we may assume she gave up on that selfishness and on that child and saved many in Israel that way. This is a most beautiful story in the Bible. However, it was brought about unto us through someone who started off with a wrong motivation and who never gave up on the object of her selfishness and turned it upside down to offer it holy unto God, to be made a beautiful love gift unto Israel and unto the Lord’s use. She could easily give up on that request prompted by a perceiving conscious against selfishness and revenge in her inside. And she instead grabbed her selfishness and turned it into holiness and love without giving up on her desire and object of her inner sin. “An eye for an eye” is the demand of a beautiful Law. Whatever she would do formerly for herself out of sinfulness’ demands, she was made able to grant unto God forever even after she had it in her hand to do with it whatever she wanted to do. A child she wanted for herself, a child she gave unto God – an eye for an eye it was. And she bore that child herself. This is what sanctification and holiness is all about. She overcame sin holding her son in her breasts.
Because God needs a prophet for a prophecy, because God needs a holy, consecrated heart to settle holiness within it as sin would settle itself there, because there is an urge and a need to be the man that God is after, God promises and delays promises after promising, so man may search after it with the whole of his heart. In finding what cannot be found humanly, the same man bumps into God and is transformed during the process of searching and is forced to give up on his selfishness concerning it. But many rather give up on God than on that selfishness against which it is God who is working things out. God eventually grants the right thing to the right person once that person has indeed become the right person. And were that man of the kind that gives up, there would be a double loss: he would loose on the promise of God as well as on the work that God intended to carry out in his inward parts during the time of that search.
We come to acknowledge that there is no reason for man to give up on faith and on God but only on himself and on the love for whatever he is. Man, by giving up, is fighting for the survival of the flesh and is not merely giving up on something. Giving up is a sort of a way to blackmail God into something, holding one’s own life as a ransom and guarantee to attain to that survival for which the flesh so readily works after. This is why we read “Pray without ceasing”, which means “pray without giving up on it”. We are to hold our Samuel in our own hands eventually and be spotless even so. Can God count on you to fight yourself along with God, taking sides with Him on this long journey towards heaven and towards being made a man fit for heaven and fit for Him? Te amount of desire to give up reflects the amount of resistance and of love towards self there still is around. Discouragement is self defence and a weapon mostly used to blackmail God through it. It is usually a last resource used for the survival of self. May God have that final victory over self and over the breeder of all evil and sin in the world. Amen.