VOICES OF DISCOURAGEMENT

My thoughts were like a dark cloud.  I was mulling over the past, ashamed of the many things I had done wrong and also disappointed by the wrongs of others.  I had many ideals of Christian behaviour that other people hadn’t lived up to–and worse, neither had I!

I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.  If we’d all failed so miserably in the past, how could the future offer hope for better things?  We’d be just as full of selfishness, faults and failings in the days to come as we had been heretofore.

My husband and I were on our way to town and I began telling him how depressed I felt.  Right then a little voice spoke inside my mind, clear as a bell: “Your problem isn’t with the past, it’s with an evil spirit.”

This thought was like a beam of brilliant light piercing all that gloom.  One of those “diamonds falling from heaven” I’ve written about before; it bonked me, so I picked it up and examined it.  I repeated the thought to my husband – and as I did, I grasped the truth of it, too.  This murky cloud was anything but heavenly sunlight; it was the voice of our Adversary.

I remembered other times when this “blue mood” would come over me when I reflected on the past.  This spirit had tinted a lot of my memories with failure.  It ringed whatever I’d tried to do with dark circles: “Oh, you are SO WRONG – AGAIN!”  It made the actions of my spiritual brothers and sisters show up in a poor light, too.

Something happened the moment I recognized this spirit as being an evil spirit.  It left.  Vanished–or I should say “vanquished.”  That dark shadow over the past evaporated and I could look at our shortcomings in a brighter light.  Why, we had all behaved as normal people will–imperfect, but trying to do right.  Sure, we had failed, but the Lord could forgive us.  There was hope for the future, too.  With God’s help we could be forgiven –washed clean– and do better the next time.

Why had I given in so often to this hopeless despair?  Because I’d thought it was true, or the voice of my conscience.  That’s how evil spirits work: they come as “the voice of truth–darkly shaded” or disguise themselves as the nagging of conscience.

I’ve heard folks say you can always tell if the Holy Spirit is speaking because He comes with direction.  There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.  These other spirits come with tones of depression and hopelessness, trying to separate us from other believers.  “All is lost; nothing that can be done to fix the problems.  Go crawl under the bed and stay there.”

“Beloved, believe not ever spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…” I John 4:1

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

Many times the Holy Spirit has helped me to see how these “rulers of the darkness” were influencing my thinking.  Where they have, He has lifted me out of the despair I was feeling and set me on the right path again.  Praise the Lord!