Barnabas Bulletin ~ 0136
COMBATTING DISCOURAGEMENT AND THE DEVIL
THROUGH KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES
In recent times we have looked at both encouragement and discouragement amongst Christians. Discouragement is more prevalent than we would like to admit and it is therefore important that we not only recognize it, but that we know what to do to combat it when it comes against us. The enemy loves us to be discouraged ~ for we do not function effectively when we are in that state. One area that causes us to lose the fight against discouragement is our ignorance (or unbelief) of what God has said about us. I am reminded that when the devil came against Jesus, Jesus rebuked him by declaring “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus believed on that which had already been spoken by God and written down. God’s word never changes; it is consistent always. So, how well do we know the Scriptures and what God has said in His word? Ignorance is no excuse to stop the devil from attacking us. And we stand or fall depending on how well we know God’s will in a matter, and in our life. If the devil was crafty enough to try and twist the Scriptures with Jesus, do you not think he will also try it with us? And when He does, what weapons do we have to effectively combat his subtle ploys?
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE SCRIPTURES?
It is so important that we Christians have a daily devotional life. We cannot afford to live on only what we get at Christian meetings! If we do not learn how to feed ourselves on what God has said, and is saying to us, how do we think we are going to be smarter than the devil and to combat his crafty ways against us? Let me challenge you on this. How well do you know the Scriptures? When others quote Scriptures to you, do you check them out to see that what they are quoting is indeed what the Scriptures declare? So many quote what they think the Bible is saying, and if we do not check to see if it is correct, we can easily believe what they are saying, and thinking that is what God said. We need to be like the people of Berea who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:10-12). They did this even with the Apostle Paul! They did not “take things for granted” that because so-and-so said it, it must be right! One of the reasons that there is so much deception amongst professing Christians today is because of the ignorance of the Scriptures and what God has said.
How do we know it is God? Whatever God says will always be confirmed by the principles of Scripture. God does not (and will never) deny His word! If the voice you are hearing is not confirmed by the principles of Scripture ~ and by the mouth of two or three witnesses of genuine Bible believers ~ then you should wait until you get those confirmations (2 Corinthians 13:1). God will always confirm what He says to us so we can have confidence in stepping out on whatever He says to us. God does not want us to be “hit and miss” people because we do not know the principles of His word.
Make no mistake about it. Our enemy (Satan) is out to deceive, mislead, rob and destroy all true believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “Word become flesh” (John 1:14), and he wants His word to become flesh (reality) in us too. Knowing Jesus Christ through the born-again, Holy Spirit-filled experience puts us in to direct opposition to the enemy. That means we are in a spiritual conflict, and in order for us to “resist and withstand all the wiles (schemes) of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-20), we need to know the ground upon which we are able to stand against him and win! That ground is the infallible word of the Living God. So, again the question must be asked: “How well do we know the Scriptures, the Word of God, what Jesus has said, etc.?”
Christianity is first and foremost a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus came into this world and shed His blood so that you and I could be made clean in the eyes of a Holy God. The power of His shed blood gives us a standing with God that enables us to stand against “all the wiles of the wicked one (Satan)”. The Bible uses the word “wrestle” (Ephesians 6:12) and that means to be in direct combat with the enemy. We “wrestle . . . against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. It is not “make believe” – it is for real! In our wrestling against these powers we learn to know just how powerful the finished work of Jesus Christ was/is, and what it has accomplished for us today. “Greater is He Who is in us than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Be encouraged to take time to know the Scriptures better, and to enjoy more and more victories over our enemy, the devil. Know that God is for you, and desires that you and I know the victories of His written word and His shed blood at the Cross of Calvary. And keep rejoicing to know that God has personally chosen us to frustrate and defeat our enemy through the Mighty and Powerful Name of Jesus Christ our Risen Lord! And . . . The Best is yet to Come! God Bless YOU! ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Please Pray This Prayer:
“Dear God, I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and I ask You to help me to have a more positive belief in the truth of Your word to me. Help me to be sensitive to where other people are at, so that I can encourage them in the potential they have in You. Help me to not be too busy to see others needs. I really do want to do Your will, and to be an effective and fruitful minister of Your Supernatural Gospel in my day and generation. I desire to fulfil Your vision for my life, and share your loving heart with others! Thank You, Lord. I bless You for all You are, and for all You have done for me. You are such a Good and Wonderful Lord to me. In Jesus' name, I pray these things. Amen."