Sunday, June 10

Discouragement, Distraction, Division

Discouragement-Distraction-Division (DDD) ... Three primary tools the enemy uses against anyone attempting any kind of Kingdom ministry. We have found DDD especially true in our own missionary work as church planting catalysts.

Discouragement. One of the big battles of anybody involved in trying to plant a church is giving up too soon. There is plenty of despair, and discouragement along the path to seeing a new church planted. For every step forward, there are usually two or more steps backwards! So much effort goes into reaching people, ministering to them, only to see them fizzle within days or weeks of coming to know Christ. Over and over plans are made, only to not turn out the way we hoped. We begin to look at others around us, see their success, and compare it to our own mediocre efforts. Discouragement often leads to depression. We give up hope that anything good will ever come from anything we try to do.

Distraction. If the devil can't keep us from committing to winning others to Christ, discipling, baptizing and teaching, what he will do is seek to distract us from the task by bringing a host of good things into our path to compete for our attention. While "good," most of these things tend to lead us away from our focus. We get caught up in programs, conferences, events, current issues, entertainment, the tasks of daily life, and before we know it find ourselves totally distracted and diverted from our calling to make disciples of the nations. Our time is filled with so much stuff that there is little or no time left for the Kingdom. This seems to especially be the case in our contemporary, modern, urban lifestyles.

Division. This tool is always present in all Kingdom work, old and new alike. The tendency to divide over some issue or problem. I have yet to see a single new church that isn't faced with this early on. Most often, the issue is something minor, yet gets magnified way out of proportion to its merits. This leads to the taking of sides and ultimately believers are faced with a split. I have seen everything from someone's dreams, jealousy, power struggles, doctrinal issues, personality traits, sin--really any and everything can be used to divide a group of believers. Our own "correct" point of view takes precedence over Christ's command to "love one another." The only victor when we give in to division is the enemy.

We have had our fair share of all three D's. One thing that has helped over the years is to realize these are the Ephesians 6, "schemes of the devil" that the enemy uses against us. In a real sense, when confronted with DDD we can be assured we are on the right track in that the enemy is worried enough to step in and try to oppose us. When DDD comes our way, Paul exhorts us to, "take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."

Ephesians 6:14-17 describes the armour of God we are to put on. We are told to 1) pray at all times in the Spirit, 2) be on the alert with all perseverance, 4) petition for all the saints, and 4) to pray on my behalf (to have others praying for us). In all my encounters with DDD, how often do I take seriously the remedy that Paul lays forth in Ephesians 6? Maybe that is why I feel so helpless in the face of DDD. I am simply not heeding the remedy offered in Scripture.

How do you deal with DDD in your life and ministry?

10 comments:

Burkhalter Ministry said...

Encouragement, Focus, and Unity are not only the opposites, but combat tools. Also, I've found that walking out the Kingdom journey with fellow laborers helps with the 3D's which includes dragging out the struggles into the light. Lastly, prayer.
T

GuyMuse said...

Travis,

Your EFU has just given the topic of a good follow-up post to "DDD"! You are exactly right about needing these three combat tools to counter DDD. Thanks.

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Guy, as Travis said, "Fixing your eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith." I fight this, as all believers do. I find that keeping my eyes on Jesus helps me push through to the other side.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Guy, just typing a note to let you know I found you. Take care and God bless. Robert V.

GuyMuse said...

Kevin,

Good words of advise. Our team met yesterday and spent considerable time discussing DDD in our midst. After a time of prayer, I think we all went away encouraged that Jesus has already given us the victory, and as you say, we need to keep our eyes fixed on the author and finisher of our faith!

R.L.,

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to comment on anything that might strike your fancy here at the M blog.

S.A.M. said...

Guy, the trials we go through build our faith, make us stronger and help us to learn. We have several ways to handle the problems that come up, and 99% of the time in the past, I have chosen my own solution to deal with the situation I found myself in. I have grown since then, maybe I try my own way 75% of the time now. It is difficult to fully trust, but it is part of the maturing process; a process that continues as we roam this earth and will continue in me.
SAM

Bryan Riley said...

I was just going to add a few more D words.. Doctrinal Distinctives, Denominations, Disunity....

GuyMuse said...

SAM,

I have often believed the enemy goes extra hard against missionaries. As you make your way to the field, DDD will become part of your daily living. But Eph.6 is there with everything we need to combat the schemes of the devil.

Bryan,

Each of these might be considered as subcategories of "Division" that I have often felt is one of the most fatal of the enemy's schemes. If Satan can get us to focus on all these D's, he is well on his way to dividing us for good. I much prefer Travis' counter list above: encouragement, focus, unity.

Paul Burleson said...

Guy,

I would like the privilage of taking your three Ds and using them in my teaching in pastor's conferences. I have one coming soon in Denver and believe your thoughts are so on target that I'd like to pass them on. The source of the information will passed along as well. GREAT STUFF,

GuyMuse said...

Paul,

Feel free to use ANYTHING on our blog that might help anybody out there. Freely we have received, freely give. We use the three D's upfront with our national church planters. The enemy will do all in his power to discourage, distract, or divide us, anything to keep us away from the task that we have been called!