2013-11-20 / Religion

Don’t Lose Heart!

Inspiration

Gale and I are facing something that we will soon have to deal with that neither of us are really excited about: buying another car. Car shopping is probably enjoyable to some, but for us it is more of chore than an adventure. Nevertheless, realizing the age and condition of our current vehicles, it is a matter that we cannot ignore nor should we postpone for any great length of time. With that in mind, we have started the process of attempting to select what will best meet our needs, while at the same time staying within our financial abilities. As we have looked online and in the real world, it has become obvious to me that car searching is not a matter of making one decision, but it includes a series of decisions regarding color, size, style, and numerous other things, not to mention pricing and financing. With so much to consider and such limited time to lend to the process, it can become a very frustrating and disheartening matter. But I am confident that as we persevere and refuse to give up, it will work out just fine, and we can carry on with life as usual.

The inconvenience of car shopping is a minor thing in comparison to some of the more serious and lasting matters that we have to deal with. Even in our spiritual journey as we strive to follow the way that Christ has prescribed for us, we can experience times of discouragement and frustration which sometimes cause us to feel defeated. The apostle Paul had many reasons to lose heart if he had given too much attention to his trials and circumstances, but he chose instead to be encouraged. Consider his words recorded in 2 Corinthians 4: “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (verses 1, 16, New International Version).

The life of Paul consisted of many conflicts, yet he did not lose heart and give up. Instead, he remained true to his Godgiven call and responsibility as a minister. Because of his faithfulness and devotion to God’s call upon his life, he lived a victorious Christian life. By so doing, the apostle left us with a great example and some wise reminders of how to avoid becoming disheartened.

One way that we can keep from losing heart as we serve the Lord is by refusing to allow the challenges and trials of life to defeat us. Notice what Paul wrote regarding adversities in life: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). The writer understood firsthand what it was like to be under attack—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually-- but he also knew personally what it meant to live victoriously through Christ even in the midst of life’s most trying moments. He did not lose heart and quit, but he continued to move ahead with his life in Christ and in his service in God’s Church.

The last verse of 2 Corinthians 4 offers us much encouragement as we deal with the disheartening and frustrating encounters of life: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

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