I was recently chatting with a friend and in complete frustration she asked if I ever find I am in a place where (for lack of a better way to say it) I try to disqualify myself from ministry service.
My answer was, "Yes, every time I get a glimpse of my sinful, disgusting heart." I went on to qualify that statement by telling her it is every time I see my deficits, and every time God gives me a good hefty dose of "You ain't all that!" It amounts to about 7 times every day, or every hour, or every minute...or every second... depending on the day.
I think there are times we all need to be encouraged and to hear the message, "Don't faint!" Paul knew there would be times of great discouragement in ministry and also in our individual spiritual growth.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
The problem my friend had was that she had tied herself into emotional and theological knots. In doing so she had lost heart, and she needed to hear a strong message of encouragement and truth. Maybe this describes you too today.
When you are discouraged over an area of spiritual growth it is critical you review truth regarding the sovereignty of God. Our Father is a perfect Potter and in His capable hands the clay is formed and smashed according to His decreed design. The impurities are removed one speck at a time. It is painstaking work for the Potter and the clay.
His work cannot be hurried along. Our instant society leads us to believe the changes should be immediate. We tend not to like the process of change because it takes so long and demands so much attention from us. We get weary of fighting our flesh, sometimes winning and sometimes losing the battle.
Herein lies the discouragement for us. We get tied up in emotional knots over our failings because there is a part of our heart that does not want to sin. The part of the heart that desires to glorify God wars with the part that wants to be gratified and when we succumb to the lust of the flesh (whatever it may be) we desire an escape from the consequences.
When the battle is the hottest and you long for an escape remember that God does what He does in his timing and no sooner or later; He is always on time. It is important you know that you will become what God has decreed you will be - in spite of how you see yourself right now or the number of times you have failed.
God is completely aware of your struggle, He has a plan for you to overcome, and He is in charge of the timing. Be encouraged!