Discouragement is so incredibly powerful. It’s a tool the enemy loves to use, because very often it’s discouragement that leads people to turn their backs on God. We see this happening in the book of Job. Hit with one catastrophe after another, there seems to be no hope in sight. Even Job’s closest friends told him to turn on God. Look at his wife’s response, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Now before you judge Job’s wife too harshly, understand this: life’s toughest temptations will sometimes come through those who love us the most. It’s these people who genuinely care for us and who don’t want to see us hurt. So, oftentimes, they urge us to take the easy way out – man’s way. The devil knows this and enjoys using those who love us to lead us into temptation and out of God’s will. Jesus, Himself, experienced this when Peter urged Him not to talk about going to the cross. But Jesus knew the source of Peter’s thinking and responded angrily, “Get out of here, Satan!”
That’s why Christian spouses and friends have an incredibly important responsibility. When we see a brother or sister in Christ facing a crisis or temptation, we must avoid inadvertently becoming a pawn of the evil one. We must fight the temptation to encourage that loved one to simply take the easy way out, to give up, or to give in. Become your loved one’s partner in his or her struggle and encourage them to do things the Lord’s way – even when that’s the hard way. Because God’s way is always the best way in the end.