by Steven Chan
8 March 2009
In Luke 18:1, the Bible tells that Jesus told His disciples “a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart”.
In the prevailing weak economic sentiments and political fracas, some may become discouraged. Some may also be discouraged because of illnesses. In all these situations, one should not lose heart. To lose heart means to lose courage or to become dispirited.
God is concerned about heart whether we are courageous or fervent in our spirit. In Heb 12:3 the Bible asks us to “consider Jesus who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted”. God does not want us to become discouraged, demoralized or be dispirited in the face of adversities and challenges in our lives. A dispirited person may soon become a depressed person. Then the psychiatrist may have to prescribe anti-depressant pills to help the person to control his feelings and emotions. But God’s advice is that we should not allow ourselves to reach such a situation when we need medical help.
When we find ourselves losing heart or becoming discouraged, we should pray as advised by Jesus in Luke 18:1, and we should consider how Jesus was able to endure great hostilities and adversities – and we can likewise be able to overcome similar adversities in our lives.
The apostles themselves were able to maintain their spirit at all times because they valued the spiritual more than the earthly: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2Co 4:16-18). They also knew that living the Christian life is not in vain or wasted effort: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (I Cor 15:58). When one knows that the “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” awaits us, we will certainly be encouraged to work tirelessly for the sake of the gospel.
According to Isa 40:29 -31, “God gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” God gives power! Do we know that? Have we ever received God’s power? Yes, as Christians we do have God’s power to be more than conquerors (Rom 8:37: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.). “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16; 1 Cor 10:13). “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph 3:20-21).
Perhaps the most important help we can extend to one who may be affected by events that may discourage the person, is exhort or encourage him or her with edifying words: “But exhort one another every day” (Heb 3:13) because “gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Pro 16:24) –“ a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Prov 25:11). In Isa. 50:4, the Bible says: “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.”
Brethren, we must be strong in the Lord as we face the many challenges in this world and as we stay focused on the work that God has given to each one of us. We must not become discouraged or dispirited. We ought always to pray for strength from God for the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). We need to value spiritual things more than the things of this world. We need to reach out with words of encouragement rather than aggravate the situation with more discouraging words like what Job’s wife tried to do to him: “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10)