Discouragement is a real beast for people in ministry.
I woke up to a Facebook message from someone I know loosely in ministry that was pretty discouraging. I am not sure they met for it to be that way but I walked away asking far more questions that I did before it happen.
As I read through it, I felt the power of discouragement coming against me. It is knowledge that tries to established it against the the reality of what God says about us.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
A mixture of hear say, past mistakes, and gossip was hit at me squarely and it made question if I was really doing the will of God in a few areas for a second. Then, I realize that the Lord had called me to greater things that someone who was being unneededly harsh.
It did not take the burn away from being labeled negatively but I knew that it was the flesh speaking about me and this person was not in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit encourages us and comes as a gentleman in almost all cases.
This is why it is so important to be in the Holy Spirit when speaking to people. As a person of Pentecost, we speak either life or death with our words. This person can be very encouraging but what do you do with this message that was clearly in the flesh?
Importance of being spiritual
In the same passage to the church to Corinth, Paul told them very clearly,
You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. (2 Corinthians 10:7)
This person was saying some things as they look on the external but that is NOT how God sees us. He sees us very differently. One of the hardest things for believers to do sometimes is see people as God sees them.
Paul was addressing this to the believers in Corinth that was going around judging each other by their struggle and past sins; not what the Holy Spirit sees about us.
It was just a few chapters before that Paul told them to see people by the Spirit and to remember that they were new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:16-17). He literally told them, “Old things have passed away. New things have come.”
Much like the believers in a city on the other side of the world and over 1,900 years ago; we struggle to see each other as God sees them. This was a major problem for the early church and still is today. ( Paul got pretty rough with Galatia over the same problem)
The person that desires to be in the Spirit needs to view other believers as the Lord sees them: blood bought and redeemed. Anything less would be of the flesh. Discouragement is not from the Lord.
Yesterday is gone, today is a new day!
The old song from the turn of the century is the basic theology I have about the new creation: Yesterday is gone, Today I am in need, Holy Ghost power Breathe on me!
Yesterday’s failures as well as victories are over. They have no power today. We have to have the infilling of the Holy Spirit over single day. It is important that we do this because we are told many times in the scriptures to let go of the past.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Is. 43:18-19)
It does not matter what your past has in it. We are to forget it and not dwell on it. We are called to look for the new thing that the Holy Spirit is doing on our behalf. In the case of Isaiah, he told the people to watch for it to spring up.
Many people are letting the past destroy them. I have been there myself. However, my past is not my future. I also know the enemy has a future much worse than mine.
With that said, you can’t change what happened yesterday. You can only fall on the grace of the Lord for it and plead the blood of Jesus over it. The Savior of the world died on the cross to cancel all negative harvest from your past’s seed.
In some many words, I was told that I deserve a very painful relational problem that I walking through and asking the Holy Spirit to breathe on because of sin that happened almost 20 years ago. Those sins are under the blood and and I believe the Holy Spirit fire will burn up the consequences by the work of the Cross.
How to respond reminders of your past
How could I respond to an message from one that I value in ministry but clearly was upset with some things. Among them was at least two false accusations. I knew I wanted to keep a professional relationship with the person but I was hurt by their words.
In the past, I would have just let it rip and returned fire as the rule of engagement. Doing this might rain down hellfire on any relationship there was but I would do it anyways. It is my nature to fight until the other person can’t continue. The problems with this is sometimes the bridges you burn are needed later.
However, I believe in the call of God on this person’s life and that I should not burn another bridge. I wanted to handle it in a redemptive way that brings people to peace; not anger.
No matter how painful some of the things that was said to me and as much as they do not stand against the knowledge of God; I knew pulling out the John the Baptist routine would do much damage.
In the end, I had to end my reply would a simple, “I am sorry I let your down and you see this way.” However, I realize I was dealing with someone at a flesh level.
If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Gal. 5:15)