Ministry can be discouraging work. Things break down or don’t go as planned. People fail us. We fail them. Some of the discord and discouragement is self-inflicted. Much of it comes from people who are hurt, angry, controlling or discontent. But the ultimate source of much of this, and one we often forget or diminish, is the enemy.
My intention here is not to unpack a theology of Satan’s influence, but rather to encourage you with a verse that’s given me great hope.
Romans 16:20 — The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
Leading in ministry makes us prime targets for the enemy; he is crafty and knows how to stir discouragement in our souls and dissension in our communities.
Listen, leaders: however defeated, frustrated, deflated or discouraged you feel, it will not last. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. However divided and ineffective your church seems, it will not last. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Very soon the tide will turn in your favor. Very soon a new day will dawn. That’s the encouragement of this verse and the hope of the gospel!
Encouragement from Romans 16:20:
- Satan is the author of chaos; he brings disorder, factions, strife, pain, fear, gossip and all kinds of discord to the church. God is the author of peace, and He brings that peace by crushing Satan.
- ‘Crush’ is a strong word that invokes powerful imagery. Paul doesn’t say God is going to stop Satan, thwart Satan, expel Satan or undermine Satan; God will crush Satan! To ‘crush’ means to deform through force, to pulverize, or to force inwards by compressing forcefully. Using this word shows the disparity in power; our God is capable of completely obliterating the enemy.
- God will crush Satan soon. I take this as good news, though I guess you could speculate about the delay. A little bit longer and God will come to crush Satan.
- God crushes Satan under our feet. Think about that. God uses US to crush Satan. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what that looks like. But how kind that God allows us to participate in His overwhelming victory over the very evil that Satan seeks to sow in our hearts and churches.
In your discouragement, whatever it’s form, remember that hope has the final word. Our enemy’s end is sure, so settle into the peace of victory. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.