Ever thought of giving up.
That enough is enough, that you have “lost heart”.
It happens to all of us.
Why is it, that even in the midst of a wonderful ministry such as Samaritan’s Purse, we can often lose heart on a daily basis, even when we see all the fantastic work that is being done to “punch holes in the darkness” and bring help in Jesus name.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, giving them five reasons why they should never lose heart, even when the going gets tough. In Chapter 4 v 15 he says “For this reason, we do not loose heart”
Here are the five reasons
1. Always be thankful and seek God’s glory, because His grace is reaching more and more people (v15)
The ultimate purpose of our lives and the one God desires is that His grace reaches more and more people and that there is great thanksgiving and that God receives more and more glory.
This is why we do not lose heart, this is why we never give up. God’s grace is reaching more and more people
2. Paul tells us to speak out our faith (v 13)
I love this verse. Paul says, I believe, therefore I speak. When we start to lose heart, we stop speaking out in faith. We start doubting and internalise our troubles. But Paul says, after King David who first voiced these words in Psalm 116, NO, speak it out. I’ve started a personal habit. I carry around with me the Apostles Creed. And everytime I start to loose heart I read it out.
This is why we do not lose heart, this is why we never give up. God’s grace is reaching more and more people as we speak out our faith.
3. Paul tells us to have our spirits renewed inwardly day by day (v16)
The likelihood is, that if you have lost heart, are losing heart or just thinking of quitting then this “day by day” renewal of your spirit just isn’t happening. It’s stopped. The habit of soaking in God’s word of lingering in God’s presence, of knowing God speak to you, of knowing the intimacy of relationship with Christ has just gone, disappeared, vanished. There is now a huge gap between what you know should be true and what actually is true.
Well here’s the remarkable thing Paul says. God wants to renew your spirit – your heart – today. He doesn’t want you to lose heart, but rather for your heart to grow bigger today as you experience his renewal. Why not stop now and ask God to renew your spirit today. He is faithful and He will do it.
This is why we do not lose heart, this is why we never give up. God is renewing our spirit’s every day
4. Paul tells us to keep our problems in perspective (v17)
The Israelites were camping out (1 Sam 17) in the valley of Elah. Everyday all they could see was Goliath, this 9ft high giant, and everyday he just got bigger and bigger in their sight. Come out and fight me he bellowed at the Israelites. Then along comes this puny little Shepherd boy, David, with all his friends and colleagues telling him “you are only a boy, you can’t fight this giant” and he replies ” You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s armies.
The Israelites had let their problems grow too large and had lost sight of God’s perspective.
Paul says, your problems are small and they won’t last very long (in comparison to eternity) ! They are momentary trials, they are ships passing in the night. Get some perspective ! And what’s more “they produce a glory that far outweighs them and lasts forever. Oh, we are blessed when we face our present troubles, because soon they are gone and the glory that they bring will be much greater and eternal. Hallelujah !
This is why we do not lose heart, this is why we never give up. Our present troubles are momentary and passing.
5. Paul tells us to have an eternal perspective (v18)
Paul tells us to fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. I often ask people where there home is. For some people its a difficult question as they have moved around a lot, for others it brings an immediate answer : London, Calgary, kampala, lira, Charlotte.
The story is told of a missionary from America who had lived all his life in Africa seeking to serve the Church and see people follow Christ. After 30 years he was returning home to America. On the same ship was President Rooseveldt who had been in Africa for a short visit. As the ship entered New York Harbour the missionary saw the crowds lined up on the quay, waiting to welcome President Rooseveldt home. There were banners, and bands and flags and queues of people trying to catch a glimpse of the President. The missionary was sad in his heart and creid out to God saying. “I’ve been serving you for 30 years and get no welcome home, and President Rooseveldt goes for 3 weeks and look at the welcome home he gets.
As soon as he had cried out, he heard God’s small still voice whisper to him and say. “My son, my son, you have served me well, but remember YOU ARE NOT HOME YET”
You’re not home yet!
And we can’t quit yet. This is no time to be losing heart, because we face a task unfinished
that drives us to our knees,
a need that, undiminished,
rebukes our slothful ease.
We who rejoice to know Thee,
renew before Thy throne
the solemn pledge we owe Thee,
to go and make Thee known.
O Father who sustained them,
O Spirit who inspired,
Saviour, whose love constrained them
to toil with zeal untired.
From cowardice defend us,
from lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
to labour for Thy sake
At the London Olympics the athletes were surrounded by a great crowd, cheering them on, willing them to win, willing them to succeed. Paul uses the same analogy in Hebrews 11 and 12. Don’t lose heart he says, the great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on, willing you to win, so that the Lord may return, the great Commission complete and for that reason, because we want to be really home we cry “We will never give up, we will never give up”