God’s Method of Encouragement

by Dr. Ken Matto

You and I are going to face discouragement in this life and if we are in decent spiritual shape, we will make an attempt to overcome that discouragement through the power of Christ. We must view each incident as a stepping stone for growth. But what if I am a defeated Christian because of much discouragement, can I be helped? The answer is a resounding yes! God is willing to bring you out of the bondage of discouragement if you will follow one simple biblical principle which I will impart to you at the end of this short study.

Encouragement can only come if you saturate yourself with Scripture, if you are unwilling to do this you will remain in bondage. God is a great encourager while Satan remains a great discourager. Unfortunately we tend to follow the discourager more than we follow God. If God tells us something in the Scriptures, we may be absolutely confident that it is true and that we may take action to the glory of God.

I would like to look at four ways that Satan attempts to anesthetize the Christian. These are representative of the methods he uses. I am only using four to illustrate Satan’s methods and principles of discouraging the believer. Satan’s lie will be listed first, then God’s remedy will be listed below.


1) Satan - God can’t use you, look at what you were!

God - (Heb 8:12 KJV) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

The key word here is "were." God has stated in this verse that all your sins have been forgiven and forgotten. When God forgets something, he forgets forever, and don’t let Satan deceive you into believing that God still holds your past sins against you. All your sins were paid for at Calvary. If you are not sure of this, go back to Ephesians 1 and do a word study on how God views His children. Before I was saved, I was a weekend drunk and I would black out, many times I did not know how I made it home. I have been saved since 1981, and have never heard a voice from heaven saying, "Aha, you were a drunk!" God doesn’t do that to His children. Read Romans 8:33 till it sinks in deep.

(Rom 8:33 KJV) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.


2) Satan - What could you possibly give God that He could use?

God - (Exo 4:1-4 KJV) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. {2} And the LORD said unto him,  What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. {3} And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. {4} And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

Every believer has something which may be used to the glory of God. I have never met a believer who has absolutely nothing in their arsenal. God uses all fields: Electricians, Carpenters, Truck Drivers, etc. In other words, God has given His children talents which may be used on the job as well as off the job. You can teach a fatherless boy or girl how to ride a bike. Keep in mind our focus verses. Moses had only a staff because he was a shepherd for forty years. Was it the staff that won freedom for the Israelites?

The answer is no! It was the blessing and power of God that was upon the staff which cause havoc for Pharaoh. So as you use your talent for the glory of God, His blessing and power will be upon it. God doesn’t only bless preaching but all His children. This study is being written upon that principle. I am giving to God the talent which is in my arsenal. If He chooses to bless it, Amen, but if not, then it has prepared me for something else He has planned. Never let Satan lead you to believe that you have no talent, because that is libel against God’s highest order of creation. Believe God’s Truths, not Satan’s lies.


3) Satan - But you are fat, God won’t use you!

God - (1 Sam 16:7 KJV) But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

You may substitute any word for "fat" which may fit you. I chose fat because I am five foot two and twenty five pounds over weight so I can easily identify with this slander of Satan. God is telling us He looks on the inward man. We live in an image crazed world. We believe that if a person is tall and slender, then they are acceptable but if a person is fat, they can never be used because they are rejected by Madison Avenue. Suppose Jerome Howard thought that way ( we knew him as Curly of the Three Stooges), or if Lou Costello didn’t think he could be funny because he was short and fat. We would have been robbed of a billion laughs.

What if Joni Eareckson Tada decided to believe Satan’s lie, a valuable ministry to the handicapped would have never been started. The point is that no matter what your physical condition is, God can use you to His glory and will if you are willing to surrender any evil notions of uselessness. Remember, we are limited but God is not! Don’t worry about stepping out and experiencing failure, because some of God’s greatest servants messed up:

1. Jonah threw a pity party (Jonah 4)
2. Elijah ran in fear from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-4)
3. Abraham lied (Genesis 20:1-2)
4. Paul compromised his testimony of Free Grace (Acts 21:26)

If you step out and fail, that is fine because out of failure grows success. You may want to take counsel from your pastor or a mature Christian friend to discuss your desire to take a step of faith to serve God in some capacity. You may want to start by going to Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible study, or a neighborhood Bible study, or you may start one. If you give yourself as a living sacrifice to God, then no matter what your physical condition is, God will find a place for you in His service but sometimes He may place one of His children in an area where they do not believe they are talented but trust Him because "Father Knows Best."


4) Satan - Who do you think you are?

God - (Judg 6:12 KJV) And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

Gideon was either the smallest or youngest one in his father’s house. He knew he was weak and couldn’t accomplish what the angel told him he would. The angel called Gideon "thou mighty man of valour." Why did the angel call the least one in the family by that title? The secret to that answer is no secret and it is found in the first part of that greeting, " The LORD is with thee."

When an opportunity avails itself to you, and you believe God has opened that door, you should go through it and accept the assignment. When Satan hits you with the line, "who do you think you are?" or "what makes you think you are qualified for this assignment?," just answer by saying "it is who I know that I am in the Lord." The Lord is there to empower you for anything He sends your way. We are the sons and daughters of the living, omnipotent, God and within us lives the Holy Spirit who is God Himself. How much more do we need to accomplish any task which is set before us?

If God gives us an assignment, we never have to ask, "Am I qualified?" God has already made us able. Read this beautiful promise from Deuteronomy 31:8:

(Deu 31:8 KJV) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

If God is going ahead of us, that means He is preparing the road for us, so when it is time to tackle the assignment, all things will be in place. As long as we are God’s children, we never have to worry about who we are, the Scriptures tell us who we are. Remember the mighty promise in Philippians 1:6:

(Phil 1:6 KJV) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

You can be sure that if God has begun something in you, he will complete it.


We have probed four types of attacks that Satan uses to discourage the believer from doing a work for God. Any time you are asked to do something for Christ and you give an excuse why you can’t, then stop in your tracks and really ask yourself if you have answered correctly or if you have chosen to follow the discourager? Satan is a master of discouragement and he will always use a method that seems harmless on the surface but the ripple effect will be disastrous. This is why it is imperative to stay in the Scriptures and study Satan’s method of discouragement and diversion. A good place to start would be the book of Nehemiah.



Discouragement is a blatant attack upon the promises of God in Scripture. Whenever Satan moves in to discourage you, be assured the Bible has already met that discouragement, therefore, it is necessary to seek out the promise of God which Satan is attacking.

As believers we either choose to believe the promises of God or we choose to believe the lies of Satan. God is aware of every circumstance in our life and when we firmly believe this, we may then place, with confidence, every situation under the umbrella of God’s wisdom and omnipotence. This short study is designed not to answer every situation in a person’s life but to get that person into the habit of seeking the Scriptures when advice is needed. We all become discouraged but the key to breaking out of it is searching the Scriptures and finding and claiming the promises of God which speak directly to that situation.

No adverse circumstances are joyful but we have to make a decision as to whether we will allow discouragement to be the rule or the exception in our life.. Let me offer you some examples of types of discouragements and the Scripture references which will encourage you at those times.

DISCOURAGEMENT                                            SCRIPTURE

Friends forsake you----------------------------------------------------------Proverbs 18:24
Troubles seem overwhelming---------------------------------------------2 Corinthians 4:8-9
No Appreciation for hard work--------------------------------------------Hebrews 6:10
Worried about a situation---------------------------------------------------Philippians 4:6-7
When you feel lonely----------------------------------------------------------Isaiah 41:10
When you are hurt by someone--------------------------------------------Psalm 147:3
No one to share your hurts with--------------------------------------------2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you feel self-condemnation-----------------------------------------Isaiah 43:25
When you feel confused------------------------------------------------------Isaiah 50:7
When you have a desire to sin because of your situation----------Romans 6:12-13
When you fear to make a move--------------------------------------------Proverbs 3:25-26
When you lack courage-------------------------------------------------------Psalm 31:24
When discouragement leads to no inner peace----------------------John 14:27
Grief--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hebrews 4:15-16

What we see above is God’s simple principle to attack discouragement: SCRIPTURE!