February 28-March 1, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
Picture for a moment the barrenness and bleakness that happens in a life when compromise occurs. It doesn't come immediately. At first it's fun to run with the wrong crowd. There's some zip, a little excitement; there's a measure of thrill and pizzazz in being a part of the in-group. But inevitably the fleshly investment starts to yield its carnal dividends. And when that happens you suffer as you've never suffered before.
Perhaps the words "very low" paint a picture of bleakness that describes you at this very moment. You have ignored God's warnings and pushed your strong convictions aside as you associated with the wrong crowd. But now you are at the end of your rope. You're discouraged. You have failed miserably. You're thinking, What a terrible way to live!
All of us have spent time in that miserable camp called Reaping What Was Sown. En route, there's enough pleasure to make it seem like fun, but when it's all said and done, it's downright awful. There is no discouragement like the discouragement that comes from self-generated wrongdoing. Enduring the consequences of one's own irresponsibility creates feelings of grief and discouragement that defy description.
That's enough about the problem. What we really need are specific suggestions that get us back on track. First, you need to openly acknowledge what caused your condition. Openly admit that you have failed to stand alone as a true child of God. You see, you weren't built to live that way. You have allowed someone else to call your cadence. You're marching out of step with your Instructor. And the Lord speaks directly: "You have not obeyed Me."
Second, focus directly on the Lord, not on the odds against you. Everything depends on where your focus is. You must discipline yourself to focus directly on the Lord, not on those odds!
Get this straight and never forget it: You will not stand alone when outnumbered or stand tall when tested or stand firm when discouraged if your focus remains on the odds. Your eyes must be trained on the Lord.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.