Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12: 1)
There are certain things that are not sins themselves but that tend to weigh us down or become distractions and stumbling blocks to our Christian growth. One of the worst of these is the feeling of despair or hopelessness. A heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.
The failure of the children of Israel to enter the Promised Land began with their complaining, or as the Word says it, “All the Israelites grumbled” (Num. 14: 2). It may have started with a faint desire to complain and be discontent, but they allowed it to continue until it blossomed and ripened into total rebellion and ruin.
We should never give ourselves the freedom to doubt God or His eternal love and faithfulness toward us in everything. We can be determined to set our own will against doubt just as we do against any other sin. Then as we stand firm, refusing to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid, giving us the faith of God and crowning us with victory.
It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, worrying, wondering if God has forsaken us, and thinking that after all we have been through, our hopes are going to end in failure. But let us refuse to be discouraged and unhappy! Let us “consider it pure joy” (James 1: 2), even when we do not feel any happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by firm determination, and by simply regarding it as true, and we will find that God will make it real to us.
The Devil has two very masterful tricks. The first is to tempt us to become discouraged, for then we are defeated and of no service to others, at least for a while. The other is to tempt us to doubt, thereby breaking the bond of faith that unites us with the Father. So watch out! Do not be tricked either way.
~G. E. M.
I like to cultivate the spirit of happiness! It retunes my soul and keeps it so perfectly in tune that Satan is afraid to touch it. The chords of my soul become so vibrant and full of heavenly electricity that he takes his fiendish fingers from me and goes somewhere else! Satan is always wary of interfering with me when my heart is full of the happiness and joy of the Holy Spirit. My plan is simply to shun the spirit of sadness as I would normally shun Satan, but unfortunately I am not always successful. Like the Devil himself, sadness confronts me while I am on the highway of usefulness. And it stays face to face with me until my poor soul turns blue and sad! In fact, sadness discolors everything around me and produces a mental paralysis. Nothing has any appeal to me, future prospects seem clouded in darkness, and my soul loses all its aspirations and power!
An elderly believer once said, “Cheerfulness in our faith causes any act of service to be performed with delight, and we are never moved ahead as swiftly in our spiritual calling as when we are carried on the wings of happiness. Sadness, however, clips those wings or, using another analogy, causes the wheels to fall off our chariot of service. Our chariot then becomes like those of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, dragging heavily on its axle and slowing our progress.”
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 391). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.