Friday, 13 August 2010

The Perils of Disappointment

The Perils of Disappointment

“They trusted you and were never disappointed”
(Psalms 22:5 GW)

It’s easy in this life to become disappointed; in fact who hasn’t been at some point or another? Ministry in particular is an arena where disappointment can thrive! As a minister I had to learn a long time ago not to allow “disappointment” to get me down. It is all too easy to give into the “feelings” of disappointment, mainly where other people are involved (especially when other ministers let you down!) By measure of necessity, I learnt to get over disappointment as quickly as possible; the alternative is for un-forgiveness to set in which only taints our inner focus (spiritual sight) rendering us un-available to be used by God any longer.

Disappointment is a firm for-runner for un-forgiveness and a sure tactic of our adversary who desires to get us over into disappointment for as long as possible so that un-forgiveness sets in. This of course traps us until we repent, but our enemy knows that many Christians have become so “dull” spiritually that they are totally unaware they are even walking in un-forgiveness.

Our opponent has watched the “human-experience” from the beginning of time and knows just where to “blind-side” us, especially using the realm of our emotions. At all costs we must keep our emotions in check - because this arena alone gives satan all the opportunity he needs. If given an inch, he always takes a mile; we must not give him that opportunity.

There are many words that describe disappointment’s character perfectly. In fact most words have at least one “synonym” (descriptive word with identical meaning). The following are “synonyms” of disappointment: dissatisfaction, displeasure, distress, discontent, disenchantment, disillusionment, frustration and regret.

Anyone who has ever stepped into disappointment, even if just for a single day, will be familiar with these well! In fact I doubt there is a person alive who hasn’t experienced all of them! 1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches us that there is no temptation that is not “common to all men,” making it safe to assume that anyone and everyone has tasted this “bitter-pill” called “disappointment” at some point or another! We are all tempted to get into it because it’s just like any other seductive temptation; we are lured into “disappointment” through “emotions” - but we must avoid this at any expense because it only leads to bitterness which in turn leads to un-forgiveness which in-avertedly costs us “everything.”

From a personal front, some years ago my wife was deeply affected by “disappointment.” I have said before, ministry is a breeding ground for this because some of the things that people are prepared to say or do at times – can be nothing short of “treachery!” Scripture is clear about treachery, in fact Isaiah said, “Traitors continue to betray, and their treachery grows worse and worse” (Isaiah 24:16 GW) and in Psalms 78:57 it says, “They were disloyal and treacherous... like arrows shot from a defective bow!” (GW).

Over a prolonged period of time, my wife had watched the behaviour of certain “respectable” people who lacked certain discretions and as a result became increasingly “disillusioned” with all-things-ministry simply through this type of deep-seated “disappointment” that had lodged in her heart. Harmless enough one might presume, but it did some damage, however thankfully she recovered; but there are many who don’t. Actually there are many today who have left the ministry for this same reason and never returned. We are talking about reality here! None of us should give ourselves over to anything - because what starts with mere emotion ends up more critical - if left to germinate!

David knew this well, and he had reason to be distressed at times especially in 1 Samuel chapter 30:1-6 when after returning from the battlefield, he discovered that his own people were about to kill him! In addition everything he owned was either burnt to the ground or taken captive (kidnapped!) “David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep...” In verse 6 we see David clearly distressed by the situation but instead of nervously “reacting” to the crisis we see him “responding” to it by faith; “David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (vs.6 KJV).

Almost deranged with grief, David’s own people had risen up against him with a united front, wanting to “exact-punishment” for their joint loss. In other words they wanted someone to blame and take their grief out up on. (Note: the first rule of leadership “everything is your fault!”)

Now it’s understandable that they did not want to party at this point, and they were themselves disappointed in David, perhaps they thought that his leadership or miss-management cost them everything? However many of us at times have felt like the whole world was against us which brought us great personal “distress.” This is when we need to employ the same secret weapon that David had. An “inner-defense-mechanism” that would not allow the disappointments and stresses of life to overcome him. As over-comers, we too must learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord, to off-set the disappointments in our own lives (Rev 2:7, 11, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

If the anointed kings of the bible had to keep themselves “encouraged” we are certainly not immune to the stresses of life, even with Christ on our side! It takes discipline and David would have developed this into his life, long “before” he ever went to battle.

Resisting disappointment is as much an “act-of-the-will” as is patience! These healthy “responses” to life sadly don’t come to us naturally (automatically) instead we must work at them voluntarily until they “become” part of our natural responses to live. (Remember our flesh is like a rebellious dog that must be tamed. Needing strong discipline until it’s not necessary anymore!)

Fundamentally and relationally “disappointment” means to fail to satisfy an expectation. Disappointment will always be on this earth, and as mentioned above, the most important thing is not what happens but how we “respond” to it! If allowed to affect us, disappointment has the ability to destroy our faith. It can make us angry at God, at others and at ourselves and can be all consuming. I have met folks who are just so very angry “all” the time. The sad fact is that they experienced just one too many disappointments in their life - never overcame it - and as a result live angry with themselves and with the world (everyone in it) for the rest of their lives!

Faith can be consumed by this type of anger that comes from disappointment. I have seen people get so turned on to the Word of God and then when things don't work out as they had planned; disappointment sets in and their faith rapidly disappears. People can literally float on cloud nine for weeks until a “suddenly” occurs and then the disappointment bomb drops and their bubble bursts forever!

Disappointment can also cause many people to backslide. I have seen more people backslide through disappointment than anything else. People get disappointed in each other, and even turn their back on the Lord Jesus Christ because of it. But regardless of what anyone else does, the Word of God does not change and nor should we.

Then there are the “unfounded” or “imagined” disappointments; which are the same thing as “perceived-injury,” something that I have taught on quite abundantly over the years because many people suffer from this; especially common in the Body of Christ! Vain imaginations are the culprit which make us “perceive” that people are doing an injury when they actual are not. “Life-is-just-one-big-mind-game,” one that we must win; we are over-comers in Christ. To achieve this we must first know His Word and not be willing to deviate from it, to the left hand or the right, because its the only sure foundation we have. It offers us “pure-security” when the rest of the world is swimming with “disappointment, fear and insecurity.”

Finally in Proverbs 31:27 it talks about the bread of discontent and self-pity! “She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat” (AMP). Discontentment means; unhappiness, irritation, annoyance, disapproval and anger. Disillusionment is similar in meaning to disappointment but also means; lack of expectation, cynicism and disenchantment. We must guard against these opponents of our faith.

Father thank you that today I need not walk in the realm of disappointment: dissatisfaction, displeasure, distress, discontent, disenchantment, disillusionment, frustration and regret. Instead I can look to you who will never disappoint (fail to satisfy). Help me to overcome the mind games and to surrender to your security and love. Amen

Today I have the mind of Christ towards the mind games of this life. I protect myself from the disappointments by encouraging myself in the Lord and keeping my eyes up on Him and not on what others can do for me. I choose not to be ruled by my emotions and to keep my focus on God’s Word; to devour it night and day, to renew my mind continually and to live in the eternal security that God offers to me and the insecurity of the world. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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