Do Not Lose Heart

Every one of us has trials in our life.  Some people have more trials than others and it is easy to compare yourself to someone else who doesn’t seem to have as much as you do.  The apostle Paul certainly suffered many trials; how would your trials compare to his?  2 Corinthians 11:24-27 “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”  In spite of all this, the apostle Paul was able to write in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  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.”

It is important for you to have the proper perspective towards your trials.  Let us analyze the apostle Paul’s admonition here. “Therefore we do not lose heart.”  You could become discouraged and give up – but you don’t.  “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”  You physical body is getting older and perhaps suffering pain and illness.  That is the natural course of events; your body is slowly consumed by trials and afflictions and eventually you will die.  But your inward, spiritual self should be renewed every day.  By studying God’s word, fellowship with other faithful believers, and meaningful prayer with your Father in heaven, your spiritual life should grow stronger.  The physical should become less important while the spiritual should become more important.

“For our light affliction.”  Paul described his trials in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, quoted above.  He called the things he went through as “light affliction.”  He could do that because he put things into proper perspective.  What he went through, and what you and I go through is little compared to the promises of God.  Jesus saw it that way as well.  Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Since you know that eternal life with Jesus and God the Father awaits you, consider any trial that you go through in this life as “light affliction”.  Others may consider your trials as great, but with the proper perspective, you should consider them as light.

Your trials are “but for a moment”.  Your trials may seem like they will never end.  But compared to eternity, they are truly just for a moment.  James 4:14b “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  Since your trials are “but for a moment”, you can endure and remain faithful.  Others may consider your trials as long, but with the proper perspective, you should consider them as but for a moment.

Our trials are “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.  The eternal glory that awaits you is far weightier and more valuable than anything in this life.  God allows you to go through trials to develop your character.  Romans 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  As you walk in the Spirit, you will develop the fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  These characteristics only come when you walk in the Spirit and successfully persevere through trials.

“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.”  You don’t see God the Father or Jesus Christ; you don’t see your heavenly home.  But you live your life in faith.  Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Trials are a test of your faith.  James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  God will test your faith through trials; He tests everyone’s faith because He wants to save those with genuine faith.  1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  Are you going to give up when your faith is tried or are you going to trust in God and have genuine faith?

My encouragement to you is to not lose heart from your trials.  Gain the proper perspective that your trials are but light affliction, they are but for a moment, and they are working for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  Walk in faith.