"Are you down in the dumps? Rise up on the wings of My key power!"
First Published January 1971
The problem is that when we're downcast, if we start talking about the situation, we usually end up voicing our complaints and doubts and speaking defeat.
When you have the "poor me's," you're usually just trying to get attention and sympathy. Your pride is wounded, your ego has been a little deflated, your self-confidence has been a little shaken, and you begin to wonder then, if everything is a mistake. Maybe you are never right about anything! In come Mr. and Mrs. Doubt and all the little Doubtlets, and Mr. and Mrs. Devil and all the little Devils, and you pull up a chair and invite them to talk it over-and pretty soon you start agreeing with them. "Yes, that's right! I never was very much of a Christian after all! How could God use me? I don't really have a very victorious, overcoming life, and I'm not perfect. I'm just a big mess. I might as well quit!"
It's because you get your eyes on yourself instead of the Lord-introspection instead of Heaven-spection. You think so much about yourself and your own faults, frailties, mistakes and sins that your "self" really gets you down. The Devil can tell you a lot of truth about yourself that's horrible, not to speak of the lies he tells you, so if you start listening to the Devil, there's no end to it. If you listen to him, he can make you sound even worse than you really are, and that's pretty bad!
Then you start listening to your critics, or perhaps some friend, or some member of your family makes some casual remark that they don't really mean or that you misinterpret, and the Devil exaggerates the situation until you get disheartened and feel like giving up.
When you're discouraged, the Devil makes you mad at the truth because he's about to be defeated by it. He makes you angry when people try to cheer you up, and makes you upset at the very people who are trying to help you, because you can't enjoy your misery as much if they're trying to make you happy. You're ashamed because your defeatism looks so bad alongside their victorious attitude, so you attempt to cover up in a fit of fury against them, or you try to find fault with them and others and everything-even God-to excuse your own stinking self for being such a grouch.
Thank God for His shock treatments when we realize what a terrible thing we're saying or doing as a result of some little doubt or fear or disobedience that we started with.
Sometimes just a word or a glance or a smile can make a big difference-how we act or sound or seem. If it's not cheerful and victorious and uplifting, then it could easily hurt others and pull them down with us. We're either going to pull people up to our level or drag them down to it, one or the other. There's no in between, no neutral ground. We're going to be either hot or cold eventually-and lukewarmness is the worst form of coldness, because it doesn't know it's cold .(Revelation 3:15-16)
Just a little bit of doubt, a little bit of fear, a little bit of complaint, a little bit of discouragement, can grow and grow until you are completely defeated and a terrible influence on others. It seems innocent enough at first, and the Devil tries to persuade you that it's not so bad, but it has a bitter end!
You'll go one way or the other-up or down! There's no standing still. You're either climbing and getting to the top, or you're sinking and drifting downward, ever downward! And when you start going down there's no stopping place. You never stop until you hit bottom-unless you repent and snap out of it and ask God to forgive you and throw out the Devil's whole pack of lies and all your doubts and fears and discouragement, and follow Jesus and His Word, and hold on to His promises. The future is as bright as the promises of God! You've got to keep your eyes on Jesus, because there's no other way to look but down-and that's the pit, the dismal abyss of horrible nothingness.
You're going to either be positive or negative, one or the other. You can't be just a little bit of both. That's what the Devil will try to tell you: "It doesn't hurt to be just a little disheartened, to feel just a little bit sorry for yourself. After all, you deserve to enjoy a little bit of discouragement so you can get some sympathy from others. Why not? Misery loves company! Let's make everybody else a little bit miserable, too, so we can all enjoy it!"
The minute you start listening to the Devil you're done for, because there's no end to it, no stopping place! He'll never quit until he's dragged you to the very bottom and left you utterly defeated, a terrible reproach to the cause of Christ and a drag on everybody around you. That's the result of putting his doubts and fears into words and sharing his lies with others. It drags others down and causes them to become unhappy, discouraged, doubting, fearing and complaining just like you are.
Words are real things! They bless or they curse; they lift up or they knock down; they save or they damn. There's no in between! Jesus said that each of us will have to account for every idle word. "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).
So, if you're discouraged, friend, for God's sake don't murmur, complain and voice your doubts and fears to others! "Confess your trespasses to one another" (James 5:16), yes, but don't go around spreading your doubts, discouragement, worries and woes to other unsuspecting souls. Keep those things to yourself, and just share them with God.-Or if you sincerely want help, ask someone who is spiritually strong to advise and pray for you. Others have enough troubles of their own without you dumping on them. They may already have burdens more than they can bear. Yours may be the last straw.
When the Lord said, "Bear one another's burdens," (Galatians 6:2)He didn't mean that kind of burden, of doubt and anxiety and a lack of trust and faith in God. He meant to get under the load somebody else has and help them to lift it-not dump yours on top of somebody else who's already overloaded! It means to help lift, not hinder, to ease the load-somebody else's load-not your own.
As for us, He says, "Each one shall bear his own load." (Galatians 6:5) And Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) Ask God for help, and if you really are overloaded, He'll help you. If you really need help, tell it to Jesus first of all. Seek the Lord. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you." (Psalm 55:22) If you're weighed down with care at the end of the day, just roll it over on Jesus and go to sleep-and let Him stay up all night. Don't worry about it. Let the Lord do the worrying. His shoulders are broad enough to carry any load-all the burdens of the world put together, including His own!
If we don't keep our eyes on the Lord and our mind on His Word, we're doomed to defeat, doubt, disillusionment, and final failure!
Sometimes you don't know what to believe: Somebody says, "Hang on!" and somebody else says, "Let go!" Well, if you put each in the right context, they're both right: Let go of the Devil's discouragement, doubts, fears and burdens, and hang on to the Lord. Hitch your wagon to His star and there'll be no stopping you! But if you fill the wagon with all the rocks the Devil would like to pile on, you'll sink for sure. Just roll them overboard and let them fall behind, while you go on with the Lord.
You've got to have some faith in God or you're sunk, for without Him you can do nothing (John 15:5). If you don't hold onto the Lord, you're lost. Anything, everybody and everything can get you down-in fact, almost nothing. Your spiritual balance will be so delicate that nobody will be able to say anything to you for fear that it will tip you off balance and you'll crash. The slightest provocation, exaggeration, or insinuation, and you're defeated. Your Christian veneer, that nice Christian polish, is so thin that it's easily scratched. It's only on the surface, so it only takes one little scratch to expose the horrible truth underneath.
Some people are so delicate that they can't take the slightest bit of pressure. They collapse because they're not holding on to the Lord, they're not standing on the Word, they do not believe in His promises. They're depending on some supposed righteousness of their own, some deprived greatness they think they have. And let me tell you, that kind of sanctimonious hypocrisy can't stand the shock treatments of the Devil. It shatters very easily. Then everyone else is given a terrible look at all the horror within, because they didn't really hold on to the Lord and keep their eyes on Heaven.
Keep your eyes on Heaven. Keep your eyes on the goal, and the victory in your soul. Always shout, never doubt! When the Devil tempts you to get down and discouraged, fight! Don't even listen to him, much less surrender. Start doing something positive. Start saying something cheerful and encouraging.
Don't just stand there, do something! Sing, shout, praise the Lord, quote Scriptures! Hit the Devil back! Rebuke him with the Word! That's what Jesus did when the Devil tempted and lied to Him in the wilderness. He just quoted the Scriptures: "It is written." (Matthew 4:3-10) The Devil is a liar and the father of it, and he can't take the Word. "Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) He will turn tail and run. Put on the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness, use the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of the Evil One; gird yourself with the truth; be shod with the Gospel of peace, and take up that white-hot sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and cut the Devil to the heart. (Ephesians 6:10-17) Drive him away! Tell him that you have no part in him, and he has no part in you!
Then get busy working. Get positive. Help somebody else. Get so busy with someone else's troubles that you can't think about your self. Get so busy trying to make somebody else happy that you can't help but be happy yourself.
Talk about Jesus. Talk about the Word of God. Talk about the needs of others. Talk about the good things. "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8) "Speak evil of no one" (Titus 3:2)-not even yourself.
Let's get going with God! He's the only One who can make it, and He'll pull you through if you just give Him a chance. Hang on to His Word, and let Him hang on to you. Let go and let God!
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise," commit your way, your life, your mind, your thoughts, your time. (Jude 24-25) "For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." (2 Timothy 1:12) Only He can do it! Just give Him a chance. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Let's talk about Jesus! Let's talk about love-His love!
As you pour out, He'll pour in, and you can never outpour Him! It's like the little discovery I made the other day when I was trying to get some scum off the surface of a pot of water. Every time I tried to pour it off, it just got more stirred up. Finally I got the idea of putting the pot under a faucet of running water. This caused the water level in the pot to rise until it overflowed. The scum on the top just rolled off and went down the drain.
God does something similar with us in the refining fires of His trials and tests. He puts our "pot" over the fire and brings us to a boil so all the scum and dross comes to the top. It was always there, but it just didn't come to the surface where everybody could see it until God put us on the fire. That's what the fire is for-to get rid of our dross. We have to let Him boil it off and get rid of it!
Edited by Almondtree Productions