Don’t Lose Heart
I am aware that there are many Christians who live with perpetual disappointment and become discouraged because they don’t tap into the fullness of what is offered by God. Oftentimes I am that person. Why? I think it’s very evident. I take my eyes off who I am in Christ and I focus myself on the discouragements.
I think one of the most amazing things the Apostle Paul ever said was, “I do not lose heart.” He said it twice in the space of about ten verses in 2 Corinthians. Here’s this apostle who’s getting beaten up one side of the empire and down the other, who can write up a catalog of sufferings that surpasses anything I will ever experience. He’s beaten, he’s whipped, he’s frequently in danger, he’s hungry and thirsty, experiencing sleepless nights, and on and on it goes. If there’s anybody in history who ought to have been despondent, it should have been the apostle Paul and yet he says, “I do not lose heart.”
So long as Christ is dwelling in your heart you have the resources to get you through anything in life.
What was his secret? He remembered who he was in Christ. He remembered that beating within him is none other than Christ himself—the indwelling Christ with all his resources of power and love and joy. Paul says, “I could lose everything else, but if I can keep hold of Christ, I would have everything.”
The problem with us is that we focus on our losses, or we focus on what we think might be losses upcoming, we become discouraged, we become afraid, we become anxious. We’ve taken our eyes off of who we are in Christ, we have forgotten our identity in Christ.
Everything You Need
Twenty years ago, a couple came into my office and said, “We’re losing everything. Our business is being foreclosed on, our reputation is ruined, we don’t have anything left.” And they then looked at me as if I could supply an answer for them. I was praying, “Lord, what should I say?”
And then it came to me and I looked at them and I said, “You haven’t lost a thing.” Then they looked at me incredulously saying, “What do you mean? We’ve lost everything!”
I said, “No, you haven’t, you haven’t lost a thing. So long as Christ is dwelling in your heart you have the resources to get you through anything in life—not just to get you through life, but to celebrate life at every point. You have the infinite love of Christ pulsating in your heart. And we are told that nothing can separate you from his love. You have everything. You haven’t lost—in comparison—anything.”
In the span of half an hour, I watched this couple. When they came in, his face was ashen and her face was wet with tears. I watched them walk out with smiles on their faces, arms around each other saying, “We’ve got Christ, of course. We forgot. We have everything.”
About ten years later I got a letter from them saying, “Do you remember that time in your office?” They had moved out of state by this time because they couldn’t continue to live in a state where they’d gone belly-up. I said, “Yeah, I remember very clearly.”
They said, “That was the beginning of new life for us, thank you.” And I wrote back and said, “I didn’t do anything. It’s Christ in you that’s changed your perspective on life.” And then they also included a very large check made out to the church which indicated that they were back on their feet again, but praise God, they had discovered true life.
Be sure that a theological error is not the root of your distress. Especially have a solid understanding of the covenant of grace and the riches of mercy revealed in Christ.
Prayer reminds us of who we are and who God is.
Why are so many people so unhappy in so many different circumstances?