Those “D” words – you know them – everyone does, if you think about it.
Down in the dumps
I was thinking about something I had just read in John Eldredge’s book, Walking With God about how to deal with those foul, distorted beings that harass us daily – Satan and his demons. We are commanded to resist them in James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (NASB). And we can’t ignore Jesus’ own words in John 14:15: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (NASB) so we have no other choice but to resist them if we are going to obey our Savior’s commandments. John Eldredge gives a play-by-play description of dealing with the problems of distraction and diminishment. And after I read it I thought about how he explained that naming these evil entities by what they are, the spirit of Distraction or the spirit of Diminishment, in his example. Now it made more sense to me. These guys are actually fallen angels in Satan’s army and resisting them as such makes much more sense than complaining to God about being distracted, to no avail.
Well, I didn’t think I had much trouble with “distraction” – however, I’m rethinking that now after more meditation! But I contemplated what often plagues me lately…discouragement, depression, feeling disheartened, defeated, disappointed…and I noticed they all start with the letter “d”…those nasty “d” words! I recalled a story I read years ago that was circulating on the internet about the devil’s most effective tool.
It was announced that the Devil was going out of business and that he would offer all his tools for sale to whoever would pay the price. On the night of the sale, they were all attractively displayed and marked with a price: Malice, Hatred, Envy, Deceit, Jealousy and Sensuality and all the other implements of evil were spread out. Apart from the rest, lay a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, much worn and priced higher than any of the others. Someone asked the Devil, "What is that?"
That is "Discouragement", the devil replied.
"But why do you have it priced so high?" the prospective purchaser inquired.
Because, said the devil, "It is more useful to me than any of the others. I can pry open and get inside a man's soul with it. I can do this when I cannot get near him with any of the other tools I possess. Once I get inside his mind with discouragement, I can use him in whatever way suits me best. The reason this tool is so worn is that I can use it with nearly everyone. So, very few know that it belongs to me!
Granted, it’s just a story to shed light on one of the most bothersome and crippling of the assailants of Jesus’ followers, but it is oh so accurate. When discouragement takes over it is just the first step of a downhill spiral into what can easily become a “valley experience”.