When the way becomes nothing but one big trial, one big problem, and you find no refreshing oasis or manna from Heaven; this, beloved, is not the way to the promised land. When you know nothing but unanswered prayers, this, beloved, is not the promise God made us. When you walk on without the blessings and provisions of God, this, beloved, is not the way of God. The way of God is the thirst and the oasis, the hunger and the manna, the lack and the provision, the judgments and the deliverance, the weariness and the rest, the warfare and the victory.

  • Matthew 21:22  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
  • Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-5  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (5) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (literally, weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities (literally, weaknesses), in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
  • Galatians 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
  • Hebrews 10:36  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Not ‘might receive’ as if to express uncertainty or doubt about receiving the promise; but rather, ‘may receive’, expressing the assurance  and certainty of receiving–conditioned upon enduring.)

God not only makes promises: He keeps them. He gives answers to prayer. God not only promises trials: He gives grace, comfort and encouragement to endure them. He makes a way of escape. He provides deliverance. When the way you tread becomes nothing but one big trial without provision, deliverance, help, or answers–this is not the Lord’s way, nor is it the Lord’s doing. And it behooves you to stop and ask yourself why things are going the way they’re going.

You say you’re discouraged because the way is so hard and nothing’s going right. Brethren, could it be nothing’s going right because you’re on the wrong way? Could it be you’re to blame, you’re doing something wrong? When things are constantly going wrong for you and nothing seems to be working, here are some probable reasons you should consider.

1. DIVINE CHASTISEMENT. When you do something wrong (i.e. sin), God deals with you through the convicting work of the Spirit speaking a word of rebuke to you. At other times, He deals with you through chastisement.

Chastisement takes on many forms and the one we normally think of is physical, or bodily, sickness. One of the purposes of chastisement is God calling your attention to the fact that you sinned, you need to repent and deal with the problem. Sometimes, if you’re hardheaded enough, you’ll refuse to admit you’ve sinned; you won’t take care of the problem. Consequently, the chastisement drags on. Hence, the discouragement.

Brethren, could it be that the healing hasn’t come yet because you’ve not repented? Instead of finding fault with God, you need to be honest with yourself, face up to the sin, and repent. As with the children of Israel, no confession or repentance, no brazen serpent or healing.

2. SPIRITUAL OPPRESSION.  Some problems are a matter of oppression. One telltale indicator of oppression is, the problem is incessant and recurring; it’s a continual thing with no lasting relief.  For example, if you’re plagued with constant ear aches, you may be dealing with an hereditary sort of oppression working in your ancestors and family. At the very least, you might want to seek the Lord about coming against a spirit of infirmity relating to the ears.

One thing’s for sure. When the Lord heals, He heals. The problem is taken care of. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any more trials related to that healing. Satan in all likelihood will try to put the infirmity back on you. But as you resist him and refuse to accept the symptoms, the symptoms eventually go. What I’m saying is, when the Lord heals you of heart disease, you don’t live with constant, recurring heart disease. Being healed means you don’t have the disease; you don’t live with the disease or its symptoms. And if you continue to have the disease, then you ought to seek the Lord about an here-to-fore unknown matter of oppression.

You’re discouraged because the healing hasn’t come yet; you’re still experiencing the symptoms. Brethren, it could be a matter of deliverance from oppression. In some instances, the healing isn’t manifested until you’ve first of all gone through deliverance from oppression.

3. FAILURE TO FIGHT. When the Devil’s working you over, he’ll continue to do it as long as you let him do it. He won’t stop until you make him stop. How do you make him stop? You get out of that hole in the ground, stand up to him, and fight him. James 4:7 tells you to resist the devil, and he will flee from you. His flight requires your fight. In the Devil’s temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4, the Devil tempted Jesus three times and every time he tried to get Jesus to sin, our Lord resisted him and the Devil eventually gave up and left Him. The spiritual battles ended when Jesus fought. They ended because He fought.

The classic example of suffering continual harassment is in the story of David and Goliath (read 1 Samuel 17). For forty days Goliath kept taunting the Israelites because none of the Israelites had the guts to come out, stand up to him, and fight him. As long as they stayed in their foxholes, Goliath kept demoralizing them day after day for forty long days. What made Goliath quit his taunts? David came out to the battlefield one day and silenced Goliath’s big mouth. The fight ended when David fought.

Brethren, as long as you cower in the foxhole of fear and doubt, the Devil will keep coming at you. He’ll keep on beating you up. He’ll keep on robbing you blind. Because you’re letting him do it. He won’t stop until you set your fears aside, get out of the foxhole, come face to face with him, and fight him in Jesus’ Name. I know some battles are prolonged because the Devil doesn’t give up easily. But as long as you’re fighting him, he’ll eventually tire of the battle and leave. You’ll get your victory. But if you’re not fighting, then that’s why the battle is prolonged. And that’s why you’re discouraged.

4. SOWING & REAPING.  Some of your problems or sufferings in life may be the result of personal irresponsibility and neglect on your part. This is known as the law of sowing and reaping: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.(8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7,8).

  • For example, if the children are pretty destructive and they do a good job tearing up the house, it might be a spirit of destruction involved. But then, it could also be the fact that you aren’t training or disciplining your children well. If you don’t teach them to not jump on the furniture, they will jump on the furniture and break them. If you don’t teach them to not throw things in the house, they will throw things and get things broken. Children will do what they are allowed to do. They will do what they are not taught  to do. The lack of instruction and discipline always shows up in the children’s behavior and conduct.
  • If you battle constant tooth aches, chances are, you’re reaping the consequences of eating too much sugar.
  • If you go outdoors in the winter without your coat on, chances are, you’ll come down with the colds and cough.

Do you see what I’m saying? The troubles you’re facing in life may well be the harvest of your misconduct or irresponsibility: the fault is no one else’s but your own. You’re reaping what you’ve sown.

Now just because you’re reaping what you’ve sown doesn’t mean you can’t ask God to help you get the problem remedied. God can heal the tooth aches, He can deliver the kids from their destructive ways. Despite the failures of the past, the problems can still be resolved: they don’t have to go on, you’re not cursed or doomed to live with the consequences of past lifestyles or actions (read Joel 2).

But you’re going to have to change: be moderate or temperate in your use of sugar; diligently teach and discipline your children concerning proper conduct in the house. It takes more than just the prayer of faith to get the answers to your prayer: the answers involve you doing your part. What is your part? Obeying the Lord. In the examples we cited, obeying the Lord means bearing the fruit of the Spirit called temperance or self-control: it means driving foolishness out of the hearts of your children by using the rod on them.

Brethren, the reason why things are going wrong with you is because you might well be doing something wrong. You’re reaping the harvest of neglect or irresponsibility. Things won’t change until you do.

5. THE UNCRUCIFIED LIFE.  Some problems in life are persistent because self is not being crucified on a daily, or continual, basis. The uncrucified self spells problems.

  • For example, you’re discouraged because people let you down. But if you just die out and learn to be more understanding and patient and forgiving, discouragement would not be the problem that it is.
  • You’re discouraged because things didn’t go the way you wanted them to go. But if you just die out and trust that God is in sovereign control of the situation–He knows what He’s doing–then you wouldn’t be discouraged because you’re believing that all things do work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.
  • You’re discouraged because Satan is really giving you a hard time, tempting you, appealing to your lustful desire, making it really hard for you to go on or keep pure. But if you just die out and get rid of the lust, the temptations concerning that lust will eventually quit.

You live in an imperfect, sinful world. Life now is not a Utopia. Things go wrong, they wear out, they break down. Stores run out of things you need and want, restaurants close earlier than you want them to close, offices aren’t opened during the week end. People at times will disappoint you and hurt you, Christians aren’t angels, and even strong, spiritual Christians don’t always do a good job of overcoming and dying out.

Above all, as a child of God, you can’t have it your own way: God doesn’t ask for your opinion or permission. He doesn’t do things your way.  This isn’t a Heaven-on-earth.  As long as you live in an imperfect world, there will always be some sort of problem you’ll run across. And if you aren’t on your cross dying out, the problem tends to be magnified and it breeds more problems. The answer is to die out, overcome evil with good, and rejoice in life’s tribulations and problems.

The way, I have said, is a way that’s paved with trials and tribulations. But it’s also paved with God’s blessings and goodness and answers to prayer. There’s rest and renewing along the way: life’s sorrows are tempered with life’s joys, life’s miseries are balanced with life’s miracles. In other words, God’s way is not one big trial! If your journey is filled with troubles–with no rest or relief in sight–then you’re on the wrong road, you’re doing something wrong, and it behooves you to stop, find out what you’re doing wrong, then get things right. The answer for discouragement is to make what’s wrong, right.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 7. Now comes the nuts-n-bolts of getting up out of that hole in the ground. I’ll be giving you some practical things you can do to get up and stay up. It’s going to be good, so don’t miss out.

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