Do Not Lose Heart!
"Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory" (Eph. 3:13).
In this passage of Scripture, Paul encourages the Christians in Ephesus not to become discouraged, especially considering what Paul’s ministry for the gospel had brought to him. He had to deal with tribulations, or the trouble preaching the gospel can bring. Tribulations refers to trouble, or trials, that can be traced to the gospel and what it brings to those seeking to live by its precepts.
It can be discouraging to seek to live for God, and then have to face troubles in doing so. Satan wants to keep us from seeking the will of God in our lives. He uses situations and people to dishearten us, to try and divert our attention away from the will of God, back to the world, a way of life that puts us back in sin, which only brings more trouble to life. This certainly can bring about a negative influence in how we make our choices in life, in how we live our lives.
Seeing the tribulations Paul’s life in Christ brought to him, they must have wondered if perhaps Paul’s lifestyle was contrary to what God wanted, if it brought these results. He encouraged them not to give up, to realize this is to the glory of God, and for them as well. The phrase “lose heart” means to turn out to be a coward, to lose one’s courage. In the New Testament, it generally means to be fainthearted, to faint or feel dejected in times of trial and difficulty. This is a theme he speaks of to various congregations. To the churches in Galatia he said, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9). To the church in Corinth he wrote, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:1). Even Jesus spoke to His disciples, “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Don’t allow difficult times to create doubt in God and His promises, to let go of our faith, to lose our courage. It’s the trials of life that help strengthen our faith, that show us what the world is really like, and how much we need to cling to God and His precious promises in Christ.
We need to be confident in the Lord, trusting in His sovereignty, trusting in the fact that God is using even adversity to bring about His plan and purpose. In doing so, our lives will bring glory to God, and allow Him to bless us in return. Paul tells us, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). In our world today, there are lots of things that can discourage us, demoralize us, and make us want to give up. COVID continues, challenges to our faith test us in a variety of ways, including fear over consequences of standing up for the truth, or for living by the truth. None of these, however, are more powerful than our God, than His Son’s sacrifice for us, and the promises that await in eternity.
May we remember all that others have faced, endured, and done to give them victory in Christ. May we remember their example is for our encouragement, not to give up, not to let Satan defeat us, not to allow the world to distract us from the life we should live and the goal we should receive. There will be tribulations in life (John 16:33), but what God offers in Christ is far greater. We can overcome, rather than be overcome. Don’t let others, or life situations, or anything else take away the glory God has waiting for us. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
μαράνα θᾶ (1 Cor. 16:22)