Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Life is hard, and some days it would be easy to give up. Many times lately I’ve wanted to retreat into a burrow as I deal with overwhelming pain and loss. How can I encourage others to find victory in Christ when I’m suffering a staggering defeat?
Last week I told my husband, “I don’t think I can write. What on earth can I say?” And he said, “You need to write. Others need you to write.” I told a close friend of my inner struggle, and she said, “Don’t let the enemy defeat you. God uses you to point others to Jesus.”
That same day, I read words our pastor had written: “Nehemiah’s enemies were liars. Satan is a liar. He wants to lead you from the truth.” And he added a needed reminder:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12
Because God had hit me over the head with a message from Him, I wrote. But later in the week, as I faced a difficult new reality in my life, I found myself under a new wave of discouragement.
Yet again the Lord used my pastor to speak truth to my heart: Do not allow the enemy to drag you down. Do not believe the enemy’s lies. Do not give up. He reminded us of the lies Nehemiah’s enemies had said of him: “You’re no good. You’re unworthy. You’re getting what you deserve.” And our pastor’s response to those of us who believe such lies: “You stop that right now. When you lessen yourself, you’re lessening God.” I found myself fighting tears, knowing God had spoken those words right into my heart.
I’m not going to tell you I’ve overcome yet, my friends, but I can tell you I won’t give up. And don’t you give up either. God does not view you through the filter of the enemy’s lies. He views you through the filter of Christ’s shed blood. If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior and Lord and are not living in unconfessed sin, you are clean. You are whole. You are worthy.
You do not need to be perfect. Your family doesn’t need to be perfect. Your testimony doesn’t need to be perfect. Only your God needs to be perfect. You do not overcome, and you do not serve, by your own merit or your own strength. It is by His merit and His strength.
Serve God in your imperfection. He will sanctify it. He will sanctify you. And in your faithfulness, by His faithfulness, He will bring redemption. He will renew your joy. He will affirm your calling. He will defeat the father of lies as you continue to cling to and testify of His truth.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24