Jesus tells us to live a pure, blameless, and sinless life. (Matthew 5:48.) But often you find that it isn’t as easy as you think, and then Satan comes with discouraging thoughts that it will never succeed for you.
As long as you are on the earth, Satan will try his best to make sure that you don’t overcome sin, and one of his most important weapons to do this is discouragement. He tries to tell you that it is impossible to overcome sin. He may even try to get you to believe that you are not called! Do you need to listen to this? Absolutely not!
God did not give us a spirit of discouragement
It is very easy to give in to feelings of discouragement, especially because these discouraging thoughts often seem like the truth. Say, for example, that you tell a lie. You had made a firm decision to be finished with lying, but one day you choose the easy way out and tell a lie to get out of a difficult situation. Perhaps you didn’t hear your alarm in the morning and ended up arriving late at work, and then you say that you just misunderstood what time you were supposed to start, instead of telling the truth about what happened. Afterwards you feel really sorry that you didn’t simply tell the truth, but told a lie.
Then Satan will come and say, “Look, you sinned. You lied again. You are a terrible person that will never be finished with lying. There is no hope for you.” He tries to make you feel hopeless and discouraged when there is no reason at all to be discouraged. Of course there is hope for you! Ask God for forgiveness and He will forgive you. Sometimes God might tell you to go and put right what you have lied about, but when you have done that, you need to put it behind you and go forward with an even greater seriousness than before to never lie again.
In these situations it’s important to remember the verse in 2 Timothy 1:7 (BSB): “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.” In a Norwegian translation it is written that God has not given us a spirit of discouragement. If you feel discouraged, then it’s written here that it isn’t God who makes you feel that way. It is from Satan, who tempts you to be discouraged, and you do not need to listen to him.
Always remember that God does not tempt anyone! Would God come with such condemning, discouraging thoughts if He always wants to fill you with the spirit of power? He wants you to overcome sin, and will always give you enough strength and power to overcome as long as you yourself want it. He loves you very much and only wants what is the very best for you!
“Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above.” Philippians 3:13-14 (GNT). What a spirit Paul was in! This is written by a man who had persecuted and killed Christians in the past, but who then turned to God with his whole heart.
A lot of people struggle to let go of the past. Maybe they sit and complain and cry about how terrible and weak they are, and completely forget about all the chances they have to overcome sin! They forget that God is mighty to forgive them - and that is not just a little bit of forgiveness, but full forgiveness! Don’t trust yourself and how you feel, but fill yourself with words of faith from God’s Word!
But to always overcome discouragement, you must have your life in order. If God reminds you that there is something you have done that you must put in order, you need to do that. Then you can lift your eyes and go on, fully believing that God has forgiven you.
You know your own weaknesses, in other words, that there are some areas where it is easier for you to fall into sin. If you do fall in sin, then you need to be quick to pray for God’s power and grace to overcome in the next situation.
And even if you fall because you are not strong enough yet, stand up and go on. There will be many opportunities to try again. Don’t let anything hinder or slow you down ever again! In time, you will learn to overcome in every situation! “Anything which comes from God is able to overcome the world: and the power by which we have overcome the world is our faith.” 1 John 5:4 (BBE).
“At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.” Ephesians 6:16 (GNT). Believe that you are going to overcome sin! God has promised it. He knows exactly what kind of person you are and the weaknesses you have, but He has called you anyway! He knows that you can overcome in your situations!
So make a firm decision, then the temptations you come into can be seen in a completely new way. They are not a hindrance; they are an opportunity! An opportunity to overcome!
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many.” 1 Timothy 6:12. Come into the same spirit as Paul! You have an eternal life waiting for you. And even if you still fall, this is just a passing stage, because you will succeed! Believe in that! Believe in God! He will never leave you or disappoint you.