Summary: If were to tell me that you’ve never been really discouraged, I would have difficulty believing that you were being totally honest. So many of the great Bible characters, people that God used in a mighty way, became discouraged at times.
If were to tell me that you’ve never been really discouraged, I would have difficulty believing that you were being totally honest. So many of the great Bible characters, people that God used in a mighty way, became discouraged at times.
Some people become discouraged and spring back rather quickly. They realize the goodness and faithfulness of God, they look at what God has already done for them, and they make the decision to trust God regardless of the circumstances. When they do this, their faith begins to rise up inside them, their joy begins to shine forth like the noon-day, and they begin to live again in encouragement instead of discouragement.
Others have a harder time regaining their spiritual equilibrium after a discouraging episode in their lives. Some of it has to do with personality types, but we need to understand that the power of God transcends such things as personality types. The enemy, the devil and his host, would love to convince you that it would somehow be therapeutic for you to feed on the misery of discouragement for a while, before you even attempt to rise above it. I know from first hand experience that when you really get down, about the last thing that you feel like you want to do is read the Bible, hear a sermon, or pray. That is because the devil capitalizes on the natural part of your being, and he knows full well that, as 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, the natural man cannot receive the things of God, and he definitely does not want you to receive the things of God. Every minute that you are discouraged and wallowing in misery, is a minute that you are not doing what God intends for you to do. It’s a minute that you are praising the works of the devil, instead of giving glory to God. But the person in this group, of which I now speak, finally realizes that God is God and turns back and gives God praise.
Then, there are those who turn away and show themselves to have never known the Lord in the first place. We often use the term, “the security of the believer,” and I have no argument with that term, but there is another one that I really like better. It is the one that our forefathers used: “the perseverance of the saints.” Any believer, in true honesty, will have to say that there have been days that he really didn’t honor the Lord, and there may have been a number of days like that strung together, but he will also tell you that there was a constant gnawing in his spirit, like a police whistle going off in his soul, telling him that he was on the wrong road. Years ago, I read a sermon entitled, “The Prodigal Pig,” in which the preacher told about the pig going back with the Prodigal Son, but that it didn’t work out. The pig soon grew tired of eating with knives and forks and sleeping on clean sheets, and he said, “I will arise and go to my father,” and he went back to the mire. The sermon ended by saying, “whether you are son or a pig, you will eventually go to your father.”
This text, today, tells of seven of Jesus’ disciples, who decided to turn back in their discouragement. They were like us, in that they really shouldn’t have been discouraged, because Jesus have given them His promise as to how He was going to send the Holy Spirit to be with them in all that they did. But, even though they had seen the resurrected Lord, they couldn’t seem to get past the idea that things weren’t going to be the same as they had been.
In verse 3, Peter announced to the others that he was going fishing, but he didn’t mean that he was going fishing for a day, or even a few days, he meant that he was going back to his old way of life. The rest of them said, “We are going with you.”
There are two things about ourselves that we ought to realize from this: first, the devil will always try to make us think that there is some kind of comfort in reverting back to where we used to be. The truth is, however, there is no comfort back there in the old way of life. When a person who really knows the Lord turns back to live again in the old way of life, he can’t enjoy it because he has experienced new life, and once you’ve experienced that, nothing else can ever satisfy you again for any length of time. The fact that they caught nothing gives testimony to the fact of their unproductiveness and dissatisfaction. The second thing we ought to realize is that misery loves company. The backslider doesn’t go by himself, even when he doesn’t intend to take anybody else with him. Many a daddy has led his children down the destructive pathway, when he thought he wasn’t hurting anybody else. Many women have unwittingly taught their little girls that many of the things that matter most are not all that important, when they themselves have turned away from the will of the Lord for their lives.