The renewing of your mind will take place little by little, so don’t be discouraged if progress seems slow. Just before they entered the Promised Land, the Lord told the Israelites that He would drive out their enemies before them little by little lest “the beasts of the field” increase among them. 4 And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you. DEUTERONOMY 7:22 I believe pride is the “beast” that will consume us if we receive too much freedom too quickly. It is actually better to be set at liberty in one area at a time. That way, we appreciate our freedom more; we realize it is truly a gift from God and not something we can make happen in our own strength. S UFFERING P RECEDES L IBERATION And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 Why do we need to suffer “a little while”? I believe that from the time we actually realize we have a problem until Jesus delivers us, we endure a type of suffering, but we rejoice even more when freedom comes. When we try to do something on our own, fail and then realize that we must wait on Him, our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and praise as He rises up and does what we cannot do ourselves. NO C ONDEMNATION Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation…for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. Romans 8:1 Don’t receive condemnation when you have setbacks or bad days. Just get back up, dust yourself off and start again. When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before he enjoys confidence in walking. However, one thing in a baby’s favor is the fact that, even though he may cry a while after he has fallen, he always gets right back up and tries again. The devil will try his hardest to stop you in this area of renewing the mind. He knows that his control over you is finished once you have learned to choose right thoughts and reject wrong ones. He will attempt to stop you through discouragement and condemnation. When condemnation comes, use your “Word weapon.” Quote Romans 8:1, reminding Satan and yourself that you do not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit. Walking after the flesh is depending on yourself; walking after the Spirit is depending on God. When you fail (which you will), that doesn’t rnean that you are a failure. It simply means that you don’t do everything right. We all have to accept the fact that along with strengths we also have weaknesses. Just let Christ be strong in your weaknesses; let Him be your strength on your weak days. I repeat: don’t receive condemnation. Your total victory will come, but it will take time because it will come “little by little.” D ON’T G ET D ISCOURAGED Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and My God. Psalm 42:5 Discouragement destroys hope, so naturally the devil always tries to discourage us. Without hope we give up, which is what the devil wants us to do. The Bible repeatedly tells us not to be discouraged or dismayed. God knows that we will not come through to victory if we get discouraged, so He always encourages us as we start out on a project by saying to us. “Don’t get discouraged.” God wants us to be encouraged, not discouraged. When discouragement or condemnation tries to overtake you, examine your thought life. What kind of thoughts have you been thinking? Have they sounded something like this? “I’m not going to make it; this is too hard. I always fail, it has always been the same, nothing ever changes. I’m sure other people don’t have this much trouble getting their minds renewed. I may as well give up. I’m tired of trying. I pray, but it seems as if God doesn’t hear. He probably doesn’t answer my prayers because He is so disappointed in the way I act.” If this example represents your thoughts, it is no wonder you get discouraged or come under condemnation. Remember, you become what you think. Think discouraging thoughts, and you’ll get discouraged. Think condemning thoughts, and you’ll come under condemnation. Change your thinking and be set free! Instead of thinking negatively, think like this: “Well, things are going a little slow; but, thank God, I’m making some progress. I’m sure glad I’m on the right path that will lead me to freedom. I had a rough day yesterday. I chose wrong thinking all day long. Father, forgive me, and help me to ‘keep on keeping on.’ I made a mistake, but at least that is one mistake I won’t have to make again. This is a new day. You love me, Lord. Your mercy is new every morning. “I refuse to be discouraged. I refuse to be condemned. Father, the Bible says that You don’t condemn me. You sent Jesus to die for me. I’ll be fine—today will be a great day. You help me choose right thoughts today.” I’m sure you can already feel the victory in this type of cheerful, positive, God-like thinking. We like everything instantaneous. We have the fruit of patience inside, but it is being worked to the outside. Sometimes God takes His time about bringing us our full deliverance. He uses the difficult period of waiting to stretch our faith and to let patience have her perfect work. (James 1:4 KJV.) God’s timing is perfect. He is never late. Here is another good thought to think: “I believe God. I believe He is working in me no matter what I may feel or how the situation may look. The Lord has begun a good work in me, and He will bring it to full completion.” (Philippians 1:6; 2:13.) It is in this manner that you can effectively use your weapon of the Word to tear down strongholds. I recommend that you not only purposely think right thoughts, but that you go the extra mile and speak them aloud as your confession. Remember, God is delivering you, little by little, so don’t be discouraged and don’t feel condemned if you make a mistake. Be patient with yourself!