Following Jesus 171
Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.
The Castle of Doubt and the Giant of Despair. 2 Corinthians 4:1-18.
Are you going through a time of doubt or despair? Have you become a prisoner of these enemies of God and the Gospel? If you are a Christian, the wonderful truth is that you already have in your possession all that is necessary for your deliverance — you need to trust in the promises of God.
Has the enemy tried to get you to doubt the truth of God’s Word? Have you sometimes been easily persuaded that the Scriptures cannot be trusted? As we seek to live the Christian life in a fallen world and in the midst of an increasingly pagan society, the enemy will do all that he can to breed doubt about the trustworthiness of God and His Word. Do not listen! God’s promises remain true.
Has the enemy tried to get you to doubt the reality of your own salvation? Has he tried to persuade you that you are a failure, that you will never be able truly to live a Christian life and that you are a terrible sinner? Has he even tried to persuade you that you are not a Christian at all? Do not listen! God’s promises remain true.
Has the enemy tried to breed despair in your heart? Has he tried to convince you that your Christian hope is a fantasy and that this world is all that there is? Has he tried to persuade you that Christianity is just one religion among hundreds of others and that it is not true? Has he tried to persuade you that Jesus Christ was just a man, like other men, and that he was not the Son of God? Has he tried to get you to the point where you despair of knowing anything for sure? Do not listen! God’s promises remain true.
There will come a day when the enemies of God, including doubt and despair, are utterly destroyed by God (as we see later in Pilgrim’s Progress when Doubting-Castle is torn down and Giant Despair is killed and then beheaded), but in the meantime we are in the midst of a battle.
Stand firm, then, learning from the experiences of Christian and Hopeful. In the first place, we must not be led off the narrow road that we are called to walk. In the second place, when doubt and despair would seek to imprison us, we must escape from these enemies by using the key that all believers have, the promises of God.
What circumstances and situations have recently made you doubt God and to despair or become discouraged? Physical issues and pain? Emotional hurts? Difficult relationships? Difficult circumstances?
The key way to defeat doubt and despair is by reading, remembering and even reciting or speaking the promises of God, found in the Scriptures.
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