Demons of Discouragement
If we get our demonology from the Bible, we will blame the devil for so much that we will make people around us uncomfortable.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not for building a stage for the devil to stand on. Greater is HE who is within you and me than he who is in the world. Jesus is greater than Satan. Duh.
But demons have been around longer than any of us.
Demons were busy prior to Noah’s flood (1st Peter 3:19-20).
Demons empowered the sorcerers of Pharaoh's court (Exodus 7:11-12).
Unclean spirits, demons, devils; these are fallen angels. They are not our dead ancestors. They are the spirits (sometimes called stars; sometimes called sons of God, sometimes called princes) who fell with Lucifer when he rebelled. They show up repeatedly in the Bible using false gods as their avatars. They tormented King Saul. They spoke through false prophets. They hindered the prayers of Daniel. They gave power and "magical abilities" to witches, necromancers, & soothsayers. Examine the whole Bible. You will find them tormenting children, killing animals, causing physical handicaps, and transforming themselves to appear as "good messengers" in order to lead people astray.
Demons possess, oppress, distress, distract, afflict, and even kill. And they have not ceased their work.
Yes, it's 2021. We imagine that we have discovered the "natural" causes of all things. But the paranormal is actually normal. When Khan, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, & Hirohito led their conquests, you can bet safely that they were energized and influenced by the "prince of the air" and his host; that is, by the Devil and his demons. Even the movements of King David in his sins can be traced to satanic activity (1st Chronicles 21:1).
So, that's a long introduction. But I feel the need to lay the groundwork for my next claim.
Like Peter, Satan has desired to have you (and me) so that he can sift us as wheat.
What tool does he use?
Well, he has many tools that are revealed to us in Scripture. We are not ignorant of his devices (2nd Corinthians 2:11). He tempts us. He accuses us. He lies to us. He impersonates the Spirit of God. He questions God's Word. He casts doubt on God's promises. He kills and destroys. He weakens nations (Isaiah 14:12). He fights against the saints. He seeks to be worshipped. He strengthens God's enemies. He conspires against the Almighty.
But he is a horridly talented discourager.
Think of the great men of God (and some much lesser ones too) who found themselves in the depths of despair and overcome with fear and/or doubt after great victories and tremendous blessings. Noah after the flood. Abraham after God's conversation with him at Bethel (the house of God) - see Genesis 12. Moses, Elijah, David, Paul, Peter... all these guys and more went from mountaintop experiences to dismal doldrums, lows, defeats, and/or outright failures.
This is not incidental.
Indeed, we are depraved enough to fail with or without Satan's participation. But he is participating. I don't mean directly, at least not in my case. I'm a small fry; an insignificant blip on the screen of history. But Satan has minions. And they do lurk around me.
Did you ever notice how regularly demon possessed people showed up in the assemblies where Jesus was working (in the gospel accounts)? It is my postulation that demons are more faithful in church attendance than Christians are. At least in the ride to church, they get right in there with the best of believers and see what they can stir up.
Fairly often I will sink into discouragement and fear for no apparent reason. In fact, it seems that the more I see God's hand of goodness, the deeper my valleys get. Sure, you can blame my genetics, my chemistry, my hormones, my personality, my experiences, or whatever else you like. I'm not denying that those things play a role. But the inhabiters of the spirit realm around us are not ignorant of our situation. And believe you me, the Devil's team will use every situation against you and me, every time and without mercy. If God allows it, they will come. And we are no match for these forces, not if we face them alone.
We are not wrestling with flesh and blood enemies. We are at war with evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Like with Job, demons stand against us even as we stand in the throne room of God.
This is no excuse.
That's the temptation. To say, "See, the devil made me do it. I couldn't help it. It was a satanic attack." But not so fast! James 4:7, "Submit yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will run from you." Eve didn't have to listen to the snake. Adam didn't have to eat the fruit. Cain didn't have to kill his brother. Ham didn't have to shame his father. Esau didn't have to despise his birthright. And, the list goes on.
The eyes of the Lord are always searching. He always wants to show how strong He is on the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him (2nd Chronicles 16:9). True, Satan payed a price and will pay a greater price for his antics in the Garden of Eden. But Eve still faced the curse. Adam still lost his place. And, all of their descendants were delivered into condemnation. Demonic activity is no excuse for failure when we have the blessed Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us.
When we look to Him, He ALWAYS causes us to triumph. He gives us victory. We are more than conquerors through the One who loves us. We are overcomers. But we have to receive that strength. We have to accept the promises. We must walk in the Spirit. We must let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom (Colossians 3:16). And when we don't, we are opening ourselves up to the wiles of the devil. His fiery darts will surely find their mark. Not one of us are a match for him when we stand alone in our own strength.
I like to say that you and I are not wiser than Solomon, not more devoted than David, and not stronger than Samson. And, all these men fell grievously. Ananias and Sapphira are not anomalies. Satan filled their hearts with lies. And if our hearts are not constantly full of the truth, then Satan’s lies will supplant our good intentions as well.
Do not be discouraged. Encourage yourself in Lord today. Trust the Lord and do right. Do His will. Yield to Him. Don't quench the Holy Spirit. If you do. If I do. We will not just be lagging behind the Lord. We will be opening ourselves up to Satan's influence. We will find ourselves walking contrary to the very Savior who bought us. We will be completely and absolutely without strength to resist temptation. Satan's tricks are common, but God's grace is sufficient...
...if we will embrace it.