We find ourselves thinking thoughts like, “How do I keep going when I know I am justly reaping what I sowed? What happens if I become physically sick because of my sin (see Psalm 32:3–5)? I can’t ask God to heal me because I know this was a road I rebelliously chose to walk down. When it’s bankruptcy time, when I crash and burn, what am I left with?”
Unfortunately, our thoughts then lead to, “I’ve ruined my life. Things can never be the same. I’ll never be what God wanted, not with how I messed up this time!” These are the ruminations of being consigned to “second best.”
Probably the same thoughts and desperate emotions marked Adam and Eve after hearing the words, “You must leave the Garden,” knowing that Paradise was lost at their hands . . . the same for Samson when he was captured and blinded by the Philistines . . . the same for John Mark when he was kicked off the missionary team.
This is precisely when the devil implements one of his most devious strategies. The enemy isn’t really as concerned about our sin as he is our response to it. His intent is that through our collapse, we will simply give up. So he seeks to discourage us to the point at which we lose all hope and even the desire to try anymore.
As I look back on past experiences when I know I failed, it seems the devil always showed up promptly, trying to make my mess-ups seem worse in my mind than they already were. “You’re a hopeless case,” he would whisper, attempting to drown me in discouragement. You see, he’s “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night . . .” (Revelation 12:10, NKJV).