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Discouragement and Bieber

by Phil Metzger

Last week Justin Bieber put this up on Twitter.

Yes I know it is bizarre to be quoting Bieber! Life is a journey. So true. And before you are wondering- no I don't follow Bieber on Twitter... yet.

I was reading a news article that said he had over 50 million followers on this particular social media. 50 million! So I went on to see it for myself, and this was his tweet of the day.

It's not the quote itself that caught my attention. It was the more than 70 thousand re-tweets and the 66.6 thousand favorites that did. Sign of the times? Maybe, but I digress.

More than 70 thousand people felt the need to press a few buttons and pass on, "Life is a journey."

I have spent the last 18 years of my life serving God on the mission field. I love what God has called me to do and I am so privileged to do it. Since God first called me to serve Him all I have ever wanted to do was be able to bring people to Jesus.

After reading this tweet a thought crossed my mind. In my lifetime I will never teach a sermon, write a blog or send a tweet that will mobilize 70 thousand people.

I didn't have this thought all on my own. The devil told me this. He reminded me, (as he is prone to do), that my life and ministry are having very little significance in the big scheme of the world. Sure you have gone over to preach the gospel but what's really getting accomplished? Your children miss their family and for what?

I've heard, "Why are you here?" in my adopted country and "When are you leaving?" from my home country for 18 years. Sometimes it wears you down and the devil is not far behind, overemphasizing these innocent questions.

Revelation 12:10, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God” (ESV).

One day soon this will be true and Satan the accuser will no longer be a threat. But for now he is and discouragement is one of the very real accusations he brings against all of us Christians. Wherever we are serving God, he comes like a roaring lion (Peter tells us) to devour us. Satan wants to eat us up any way he can and I have seen that discouragement is one of his great weapons.

One hundred compliments can bounce right off us but one complaint sticks like glue.

So what are we to do about the devil's accusations?

Accept it when it's true.

Deny it when it's false.

Trust God.

Sadly, the devil doesn't always need to lie about me to discourage me. He can remind me of who I really am. Instead of allowing him to devour me I can accept it.

"How can you call yourself a Christian"- Good question, I'll defer this one to Jesus.

"You can't think like that and serve God!"- Good point, I'll defer this one to Jesus.

God's grace is greater than our guilt so when the devil throws the truth at you. Own it but cling to Jesus.

How do I know when an accusation is false? Does it deny Scripture? Is it against the heart and will of God. In Philippians 4:8 Paul exhorts us to meditate on what is true. There is no reason to let lies overwhelm us, even if they are gaining traction. Hold on to what is true. It is true that we are not as great as we wish we were, but we are more loved than we can ever imagine. Hold on to the truth of the Cross and the lavish love of Christ.

My experience has been that there is always some part of my life under attack. Whether it is the ministry, my family, a health problem or a personal issue the devil is always accusing. As Paul said in Ephesians 6, we need to stand having fastened our lives in truth.

"Life is a journey." Good words Bieber. When the devil told me that I won't ever influence that many people in my lifetime, the Lord has graciously reminded me that influence isn't my calling, faithfulness is.

Phil Metzger

​​​Phil Metzger is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel San Diego. ​​​He was the director of CCBC Europe and served as a missionary church planter since 1998.