Do not lose heart

These verses really jumped off the page this morning!  I encourage you to look up 2 Corinthians 4 and read it right now.

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.  All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 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.

2 Corinthians 4

There are so many actions here:

  • Do not lose heart
  • Renounce secret ways
  • Do not use deception
  • Do not distort the Word of God
  • Set forth the truth plainly
  • Do not preach ourselves
  • Preach Jesus Christ as Lord
  • Do not lose heart (again)
  • Fix our eyes on the unseen (eternal)

There is just so much wonderful weightiness in this passage… it’s a lot to chew on!  But this morning I was very impacted by the idea of not losing heart, which is repeated twice, like bookends on the passage.  What does it look like to lose heart?  I think I have been there.   Discouragement.  Dryness of soul.   Uninterested in spiritual things.  Feeling overwhelmed.  A sense that I once had something spiritually real, but I exchanged it along the way for a tawdry imitation.  Have you been there?

Sandwiched in between are verses that speak of pesecution, trouble, pressure, even death.  But there is also the truth of Jesus Christ, hearts shining with light, eternal treasures, renewal, glory, grace, thanksgiving… the list could go on.   If this passage was a musical composition, I imagine that it would be one of those that gets bigger and bigger in sound and power… you can almost feel the triumphant crescendo of joy and faith rising in up in the heart of the author and all his readers.  Every note ring true.  There is not a false or discordent sound.  God IS at work.  We are not abandoned.  There is so much more to this life than we can understand.  There is so much more to God than we can comprehend.   And then again, the simple admonition: Do not lose heart.

Emotions will betray us.  Our own thoughts are a shifting sand of change.  God’s truth is a rock.  Which will I build my life on?  There will be times that I feel discouraged, abandoned, alone, confused and lost.  I may think that the days of intimacy with God were just a dream.  But that is when I must cling most tightly to the truth that I know, that God has given me.  Elsbeth, you must stay strong and not lose heart.  Hold fast to what you know.  Let the music of this passage rise and overflow from your soul!  God’s eternal work in you and through you is far more weighty than anything you can imagine.   Press on and DO NOT LOSE HEART.

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