I once sat with a beloved elderly friend who lovingly tried to explain to me that there the devil is real. I politely listened while maintaining my unshakable belief that there is no such thing as the devil. One good look at my life over a period of decades which was anything but led by the Lord would be proof enough the devil exists. Not to mention one good look at the world. Not to mention one good study of the Bible. The devil would love nothing more than for people to think he doesn’t exist so he can continue his three-fold mission of stealing, killing, and destroying without people gaining the knowledge about how to live victoriously through Jesus Christ. Today, I choose the abundant life offered by Jesus the Christ.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV
There is an appointed time for humans to die (Hebrews 9:27), but Jesus overcame the grave by paying the penalty for our sins through dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. Where we spend eternity is based on whether we choose to repent and believe in Christ and follow Him, or whether we reject Christ as Lord and continue in our wickedness. Payday is coming for all of us. Eternity in heaven with God, or hell forever. I spent years headed for hell. And, even when I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I struggled desperately with wanting to take my own life. When I moved from being a believer in Christ to being an actual follower by learning how to study and live God’s Word, the desire to die before my time went away. And, even when the devil would try to send those thoughts right back at me, I had gained the knowledge through God’s Word and the strength through my relationship with the Lord to send those thoughts right back to where they belong. Hell.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NASB
Who hasn’t struggled with depression, in one form or another, at one level of another? Perhaps I struggled at deeper levels than many, and certainly I never imagined I could be free from it. The Lord set me free. I cannot remember the day, nor the hour. Nor even the year. When I moved my focus from dealing with depression to dealing with God, and committed myself to learning how to live His way according to the Bible rather than my own, I became free. Even when depression has tried at times to rear its ugly head once more, I knew where my freedom lies. In Christ. And I have stood in that freedom!
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 KJV
Oh, what a danger discouragement can be. I should know. No matter how much I have chased after the Lord, ever seeking to be closer to Him, ever desirous to pursue Him and His will, I cannot deny discouragement has not come. It should be no surprise, of course. The more I have relentlessly sought after the Lord, the more the devil has not been too happy with having lost me. So he has done his best to pull me back into his camp. The enemy’s camp. And some days I find myself listening to his lies. Some days I find I fall into believing them once more. Such a dangerous place to be. Old strongholds that have been rooted out, from which I have become free through the redemptive blood and love of the Lord, try to entangle me once more and suck me back down. Such a bad word, discouragement is. But I know who my Savior is! And I know the number one way to cast down those lies and leave discouragement behind. I need to dig into God’s Word, feast on it, and remember His Word is the Truth where freedom lies. In Him.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…” 2 Cor. 10:5 KJV
Have you ever been disappointed? There have been numerous times in my life I felt like disappointment swallowed me whole. I have been bound in it for seasons. No, I did not leave disappointment behind when I became a follower of Jesus Christ. Disappointment has come and gone. I have lost much. I have sacrificed much, and many, whom I have loved. I have left behind dreams. I have not achieved what my flesh desired. I have not gotten as far as I would like to go, nor as fast as I want to go. My disappointments have been so wrapped up in my own dreams, my own desires, my own agenda, my own plans, my own flesh, yes. Disappointment, discouragement, and depression are great friends with one another. They are tools the devil uses to try to bring people into captivity, or to try to prevent people who are already in captivity from being set free. They are used by the devil in his effort to steal, kill, and destroy. The devil uses them to try to bring people to death – whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually – and, ultimately, if the devil has his way, eternally. If the devil does not accomplish his desire to send people to hell for eternity, then at the very least he strives to ruin people’s lives before they get to heaven.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NASB
I have tried endless measures to rid myself of all of these big bad “D” words. The world has endless tools and techniques, tricks and band-aids, everything imaginable, for those who have struggled with any of these words.
The only true salvation, the only real freedom, the only genuine deliverance lies in one.
Jesus the Christ.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Cor. 3:17 NASB
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 NASB