Greater Than Discouragement

January 26, 2022

The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

The world can be a discouraging place.  

As if our personal struggles aren’t enough, we also deal with an onslaught of headlines describing troubles around the globe. The barrage of bad news and stress can rattle even the strongest among us.

How in the world (and I mean that quite literally) do we hold fast to courage in such an unsettling, volatile environment? Is it even possible?

The truth is, in and of ourselves, we don’t stand a chance.  

We can’t muster enough muscle to face this world on our own. 

But…as followers of Jesus, we do have what it takes. Or perhaps I should say, “Who” it takes. 

John, one of Jesus’ original disciples, reminds us of a glorious, life-changing truth: 

The Spirit of Jesus lives in us.

This Spirit is the same One that raised Jesus from the grave, triumphing over sin and death (Romans 8:11). And He is vastly superior and more powerful than anything we encounter in this crazy world. 

Though we may agree with John’s theology, we might think he’s a little out of touch with reality. 

But consider the world John lived in: 

First-century Christians faced constant persecution, false teaching (1John 4:1), and widespread, cultural immorality. The “spirit of the antichrist” filled the air (1 John 4:3). In other words, nearly every facet of society was anti-Jesus. Most folks denied His divinity and opposed everything Jesus and His followers stood for.  

Sound familiar?

This leads John to conclude, “the whole world is under control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).  

So, John isn’t naïve. He isn’t asking us to pretend that life is easy or ignore the harsh realities of living in a world marred by sin.  

Rather, he wants us to fully embrace the GREATER reality that the Spirit of Almighty God resides in us.  

His Spirit isn’t just for an hour on Sundays. His Spirit is meant to influence our daily lives. The Spirit helps shape our everyday outlook, discern truth from falsehood, and stand strong in a world that constantly tries to drag us down. 

Author and speaker, Christine Caine, unpacks what John is saying, “if He that is in you is truly greater than he that is in the world, then you get to change the atmosphere you walk into today. Bring heaven to earth. Don’t let the spirit of this world rule your spirit.”

As we try to live out these challenging words, we must remain on our guard. Satan is still the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31) and would like nothing more than to keep us bound by discouragement. 

By definition, to discourage means to “deprive someone of courage.” Satan comes at us each day like a bully on a playground, trying to snatch courage out of our feeble hands.

In light of this, wouldn’t it be utterly foolish to step into the world, relying on our own wisdom, resources, and strength?  

Wouldn’t it be completely illogical to try and do life without tapping into the GREATER Spirit within us?

You better believe it.  

So, fall on your knees, cry out from your heart, and profess your dependence on the Spirit of Jesus.

He is Greater than anything that’s before you. 

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH