2nd Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 14
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|Now, I’m not going to completely cover every text, all of the context and all, because there are five of them. We’re not going to go to every scripture where this is mentioned, but I want you to understand what the symptoms are of one who has lost heart. We’re going to talk about that in verse 1. How to Live Without Losing Heart – Part 1|
Symptoms of One Who Has Lost Heart
Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 4, and we’re going to start a new series tonight in 2 Corinthians. I’m entitling this “How to Live Without Losing Heart.” And what I’m going to talk about is just in verse 1, as I’m going to depart a little bit. We’re going to go to some other text. Now, I’ll not going to completely cover every text, all of the context and all, because there are five of them. We’re not going to go to every scripture where this is mentioned, but I want you to understand what the symptoms are of one who has lost heart. We’re going to talk about that in verse 1.
Let me get you back into a little bit of a review. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, there in Corinth, it’s been an encouraging letter. I hope it has been to you, but it certainly has been to me. And Paul, who had much pain and distress from these very people he’s writing to, has shown us how to live our life in Christ. In verses 1-11 he told them what he did. When he was persecuted he didn’t run from God, he ran to God. The God of all comfort and that’s what we talked about for all those 11 verses. It is there in the beauty of His presence, when we get in the presence of God, in the beauty of His presence, that we learn that persecution in our life purifies us instead of defeating us. That’s what Paul taught us. That’s what he did, that’s how he lived, and therefore, we learned in verses 12 all the way through verse 1 of chapter 3, that if you’re a believer seeking to live a godly life, you will be falsely accused from time to time. What do you do when that happens?
Well, he tells us. We’re to make certain that our walk matches our talk so that our conscience will not condemn us when those false accusations come to us. When Paul was down he was not out, and he was able in Christ to keep on keeping on. And that is such a precious truth. And we just finished seeing how that the confidence he had in his ministry was because, as he told us in chapter 3:5-6, he was a servant of a brand new covenant. Now he understood that. I wonder today if we understand that. You see, it was no longer up to him to accomplish ministry. His adequacy, as he tells us in chapter 3 and we’ve studied, was not of himself. He said, “I don’t think of anything as coming from our self. Our adequacy is from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now that gives you confidence; that gives you reason to rejoice. We don’t do this in our own strength. It’s Christ in us. Paul’s message was Christ, the glory of God living in believers, changing believers as they learn daily in the Word to behold Him. He changes them from glory to glory to glory. The more we behold Him, as we are willing to get into His Word, He reveals Himself as to what His glory is. He reveals Who he is and His character. Then the more we’re transformed.
The glory of God, you see, in the old covenant was up on top of a mountain—only when Moses was beckoned it was there; it wasn’t just there. But only one man could be in the glory of God. You see, it’s different now. The glory of God lives in us, lived in Paul. Christ is the glory of God. It lives in the person of the Holy Spirit of God, lives within us. That’s new covenant talk. No wonder he begins chapter 4 with the word “therefore.” Now any time you see a “therefore” always look to see what it’s there for. I just told you what it was there for.
So he says in verse 1 of chapter 4, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart.” Look at that phrase very carefully. Now that phrase is going to determine where we go. It must be understood. A lot of people don’t understand that. It’s acquainted with another phrase, it’s really a play on words, of where we grow weary or we lose heart. Sometimes it’s in the same verse.
The word “lose heart” is one word in the Greek, ekkakeo. And you say, “Why do you bring up these Greek words?” Because I want to explain it to you. Ek means “out of something, the source of something, the originator of something,” and then the word kakos is the word that is used of something that is evil and wicked and bad. Now let me explain this to you. That second word, kakeo, it’s the word that is always assigned to one’s flesh. Whenever you think about walking after the flesh, remember Galatians 5:16-17, the “flesh wars against the Spirit,” whenever you think of the flesh, anything we can do in our own power and our own ability, it’s wicked, it’s evil and it’s bad. And this is what he’s talking about: something that’s out of that which is wicked and that which is bad.
The word kakos, the second word there, was used of a soldier who in the midst of a battle, when he really was counted on, turned coward and turned back. The idea of the word in our context is that Paul is a servant of a brand new covenant. He’s determined that he’s not going to go back. He’s not going to go back to resort to his wicked, evil, and bad flesh, to doing what he can do out of his own adequacy. He’s completely different; he wants to be changed; he wants to experience Christ in his life. He was determined not to go back, not to turn back to that which is fleshly, evil.
When a believer—because of difficulties maybe, because of circumstances, I don’t know, whatever it is—resorts back to his flesh, he has at that moment, lost heart. That’s what it is. When we turn back to what we used to be and doing it the way we used to do it, we have just lost heart. In doing so we have shunned the very strength that God wants to enable us with, we have walked away and therefore we become faint-hearted. That’s why it’s sometimes put in the same verse, when a person loses heart and grows weary. The two go together.
You lose strength. Why? Because the flesh cannot help us. I’ve always believed that when one is walking in the Spirit—and I’ve said this many times—there’s no such thing as burnout; no such thing. Now, he can be weary, he can be tired, but not burned out. No, sir, because Christ lives in us to do through us what we could never do ourselves. So losing heart then, I want to make sure we understand the term, is when one has turned back to that which is of the flesh and when that happens, that’s when the faint-heartedness comes and that’s when the weariness comes and that’s when the burnout comes, because the flesh cannot accomplish what only the Spirit can do.
So I want today to follow this term through the Scriptures. We’re not going to look at every one. I’ve picked five; it’s used several places. And I want us to see what are the symptoms of a person who has lost heart and has really lost the joy. He’s walking in that zone where everything is mechanical, the whole gamut. We’ve all been there from time to time. What are the symptoms of a person who has lost heart? And again, I’m not going to cover every complete context because each one of these is a message in itself. I rarely do this, but in my study, I was really enlightened when I studied this thing through the New Testament and thought you would enjoy it.
The first symptom of losing heart is prayerlessness.
First of all, the first symptom of losing heart is prayerlessness. Now the word, or phrase, as it’s translated, “lose heart,” is first found in Luke 18:1 and Jesus uses this phrase. He says there, “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” Now, just to give you a real quick snapshot of chapter 17 of Luke, as He concludes the chapter He’s talking about when He comes back to this earth. He says society will be like a rotting corpse, pollution will be everywhere when He returns. And I believe He’s also talking earlier on about the rapture, but when He returns the society is going to be very, very bad.
Now, if society is like that—and I don’t know anybody in this place who would disagree that it’s not like that; I live in a very nice neighborhood and two mornings ago 26 police cars, 42 policemen in full armor, two swat team vans, ambulances, heavy armor, shields and everything, showed up on the street right behind me. If you just look around you, folks, there’s no safe place in the world anymore. The world is coming apart and He says, with that in mind, if society is really that way, He says, “Then I don’t want you to lose heart and grow weary and faint. I don’t want you to do that.”
We can easily become weary because of what’s going on around us. We can easily lose heart when we see what the condition of our world and sometimes what we don’t realize is when we lose heart, prayer goes out the window. Prayerlessness becomes the symptom that we’ve just lost heart and given up. The word ‘prayer’ is the word proseuchomai; it means to express a deep desire of the heart to God. Isn’t it sometimes interesting how you can be so overwhelmed by what’s going on around you that prayer just seems to diminish in your life? Prayer is the verbal expression of our total dependence upon God, no matter how good or how bad the times are. The way we pray, the time we spend in prayer, the attitude we have in prayer tells us how much we really are depending upon God.
As James says in James 4:2-3, “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.” And then he puts a condition. He says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Even when we do ask, and have lost heart, it’s really more self-serving than it is anything else.
Well, believers who have lost heart are those who have forgotten that Christ is in control; that He lives in us and He wants us to simply join Him in what He is doing. Prayer is His way of drawing us into what He is doing.
In Luke 18 Jesus is showing the heart of the Father to answer prayer, the faithfulness of God to His Word. He uses a widow and He uses a wicked judge and He uses the persistence of that little poor widow to keep pestering this judge to do—now listen carefully—what he was appointed to do. See, finally, out of frustration because she kept persisting and persisting and persisting, the wicked judge gives her the protection that she deserves as a citizen of his jurisdiction. You see, this isn’t about wicked judges, this isn’t about widows, but it’s about the fact that if the wicked judge had to be pestered to be faithful to what he said he would do when he took that office, then what would our heavenly Father do?
The passage doesn’t teach that if we want a bass boat we just keep pestering God and God will finally give up and give it to us. That’s not what He’s teaching. But it’s about praying for those rightful things that God promises in His Word that are ours in Christ, and, as you pray, counting on His faithfulness. This wicked judge had a legal assignment to do what was right. He wouldn’t have been made a judge had he not had that. But if we come before our righteous Father we can always expect Him to be faithful to His Word. He will do exactly what He said He will do. And that’s what keeps us always trusting Him no matter how bad the times get and as a result then we don’t lose heart, which only comes when we start to try to take matters into our own hands, when prayer goes out the window.
Prayerlessness, lack of prayer in a person’s life; and I’m not talking about how long you spend in your quiet time. I’m talking about an attitude that you live in from the time you wake until the time you go to bed of constant communication with God, trusting Him to be faithful to His Word no matter how bad circumstances get around us. So, have you lost heart tonight? Is prayerlessness a symptom that’s in your life?
The second symptom of losing heart is when one is trying to achieve ministry instead of receiving it.
Secondly, a second symptom of losing heart is when one is trying to achieve ministry instead of receiving it. Now we go back to our text in 2 Corinthians 4:1; that’s where we find this phrase. That’s the second time I’ve found it in the New Testament. Paul was a servant of the new covenant, not because he just wanted to be different, but because he had a ministry that was received from God; he never set down and said, “I think I’ll be an apostle.” God just set him apart. He never set down and said, “I think I’ll have this as my message.” God gave him his message; God gave him his ministry.
Verse 1 again in 2 Corinthians 4, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart.” When he says, “since we have this ministry,” he’s referring to the ministry of the new covenant that he just spent the whole of chapter 3 explaining. But notice, “since we have this ministry,” notice the phrase: “as we received mercy.” The word for “as” is the word kathos, and it means “according t”o something, “in the manner in which” something happened; it could even be translated “even as” or “just as.”
Now according to what manner did he receive mercy? According to what, even as what, did he receive mercy? Now this is a statement referring back to his salvation. When he was saved, his entering in to the new covenant, Paul’s salvation was not achieved, it was received. Nobody could doubt that: he was stopped and blinded for three days on the Damascus Road. It was the same with his ministry. It wasn’t something that he came up with. It was something that was received from God, so “just as” he was saved, which was by faith and by faith alone and by Christ alone, “just as” he received salvation, “just as” now he has his ministry. When one finally understands that ministry is given by God and not achieved by man, then he can rest in that ministry. When the glory of God comes to live in us in the Person of God the Holy Spirit, He ministers life through us.
As we saw in chapter 3, He opens the doors to ministry. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 12 and says “He gives the gift” in verse 4; “He gives the ministry” in verse 5 of chapter 12; and He gives the effect of that ministry. It doesn’t come from man. So, you and I don’t have to fret about the results of ministry when we’re willing to allow Christ to work the work He began in us, we don’t have to fret anymore. We don’t have to measure what Christ is doing. We don’t have to open doors to let Him do something. We just walk through the doors that He’s already opened. We simply walk by faith; we simply trust Him and His Word and His work through us.
But when we forget this, and, folks, I’m telling you it’s common to all of us, when we forget how we got saved, just like the Galatians forgot, and when we try to go back and do anything in the energy of our flesh for God, rather than relating to Him and letting Him do it through us, then we all of a sudden change. We become numbers freaks, we become obsessed with obtaining what we’ve come up with and the bottom line is we’ve lost heart. That’s what losing heart is. We’ve turned and gone back. We’re living now as if we don’t even know we’re in the new covenant. When it’s up to us in times that are hard, and we turn back to doing it our way, we don’t pray, but not only do we not pray, we start trying to achieve something for God rather than receiving something from Him.
So understanding losing heart is turning back to something that comes out of the flesh, then prayerlessness and achieving ministry are two of the symptoms of a person who’s done just that.
The third symptom of losing heart is when we forget our eternal destiny.
The third symptom of losing heart is when we somehow forget our eternal destiny. If you’ll turn over, the next one is actually in 2 Corinthians 4:16. But isn’t it interesting when life gets tough that sometimes we forget that we’re heaven-bound and we forget what’s coming? We forget the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. And when that happens we lose heart. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, “If we’re only hoping in Jesus for now, we’re of most men to be pitied.” We’ve got a better thing coming. Yes, we enjoy Jesus every day, but if we forget where we’re headed, if we forget we’re strangers in an alien world, a hostile world, and if we forget the glorious day that’s coming, we lose heart.
Paul’s talked about that day in Romans 8:18. He said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” You see, suffering sometimes, suffering whether it be physical, whether it be persecution, can cause us to lose our focus and become so depressed over a situation that we forget who we are, Whose we are, and where we’re headed. In the same chapter, 2 Corinthians 4, which we’re studying, he begins to lead up to verse 16 by talking about the suffering that he’s had to go through down here. He talks mainly about persecution, but it’s still suffering any way you look at it. He knows that the knowledge of his suffering is causing some people to grieve and he doesn’t want them to do that, so he says in verse 16, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
You know what the outer man is? The physical part of us that feels the pain that builds the suffering, it’s decaying. The word “decaying” is the word meaning to corrupt, to die, to perish: it’s dying. I don’t know if you figured it out or not, but the moment that you breathed your first breath you begin to die. Has anybody figured it out yet? And even getting older is not for sissies. It’s not fun and the older you get the more you realize this important truth.
We’re dying, folks. The outer man is decaying. Disease and all this other stuff is a result of sin in this world, the original sin, and we live in a fallen earth that way. But that’s not what Paul’s point is. Paul’s point is, yes, that the outer man suffers and suffers greatly—and the kind of suffering Paul had was mainly through persecution—but he’s talking about something else: who we are in the Spirit, our inner man is growing stronger all the time. So in verse 16 he says, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction,” now when we get over to chapter 12 you’re going to see what he calls “momentary, light affliction.” I mean, this guy has been through it. And he says, “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
But it’s amazing to me; I had one dear friend. He had something come over him, it was a disease of some kind. It was cancer and he was going to lose his sight and they said it would probably ultimately take his life. And I came back from a trip one time, and my wife told me, “Gene took his life.”
Listen to me, what I’m saying, that you can lose heart to the point that you lose all basis of rationale, and this is what Paul is trying to say. You can’t do that. You’ve got to keep looking at God. Yes, the outer man is decaying. We don’t know how we’re going to go out of this world, but we sure flat know where we’re going when we leave. And he says the inner man is growing stronger. Why? Because he’s walking by faith trusting God, no matter what comes his way. When we lose focus and we begin to be overwhelmed by the circumstances, we can so lose heart. There’s no telling what might end up in our life.
Paul didn’t lose heart. My encouragement to you is that if you’re going through something don’t you dare let it overwhelm you. Anything that is over your head is under His feet. And don’t ever forget that; because when you lose heart you turn back to the flesh, and the flesh can produce nothing but that which is evil and that which is harmful and that which is wicked. Paul didn’t lose heart. He realized that whatever he went through there was Someone living in him, strengthening him from within. That’s awesome.
Well, the symptoms of one who has lost heart: prayerlessness; they don’t pray. You know why? They don’t trust God. Secondly is trying to achieve a ministry they can’t achieve and they’re frustrated that it’s not doing what they thought it would do. And thirdly, forgetting our eternal destiny.
The fourth symptom of losing heart is when we forget the timing of the Lord in our life.
But the fourth thing, the fourth symptom of one who has lost heart, is when we forget the timing of the Lord in our life. Now, there’s the law of the harvest, and he’s going to bring this up. God does what He’s going to do when He gets good and ready to do it. I’ve tried my best to learn this lesson. Look in Galatians 6:9. He says, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” See that’s one of those verses that puts both of the phrases in there and it’s a play on words. But it gives you the idea of the result of what happens to cause that result. Of course verse 9, in my Bible, somehow always follows verse 8 which always follows verse 7. Does that happen in every chapter of your Bible?
Well, you have to look back to see what he said in 7-8. He’s talking about sowing and reaping. And he says in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” And then he tells you about that, it’s not the Word of God he’s talking about here. It’s a choice he makes to either walk after his flesh or walk after the Spirit. And verse 8 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” That’s not just salvation: Christ is eternal life. And if you sow, you keep on sowing in the right field, the field of the Spirit, you keep on saying yes to Christ. Galatians 2:20 says, “It’s not me but it’s Christ living through me and the life I now live I now live by faith.” If I’m willing to live that way, I’m sowing in the right field.
Now there comes a law of the harvest. He’s talking about harvesting here. It’s important to remember, especially when we’re allowing Christ to do something through our life, you have to remember this, and I want you to pray for me that I’ll get it. First of all, you reap what you sow; you can put tomato seeds in the ground and you’re not going to get corn. And if I choose to go back and live as if I’m under the old covenant, with the fading glory, if I’m going to do it in my own energy, my own flesh, then I’m going to reap of that flesh, no matter how sincere it was to start with. But if I step over here and be a servant of the new covenant and simply say yes to God and let God do through me what only He can do, then I’m going to reap what I sow; you reap exactly what you sow.
Secondly, you reap much more than what you’ve sown: a whole lot more. But here’s the key that he’s talking about in verse 9. The third law of the harvest is, you reap much later than when you’ve sown. I remember when I was in Mississippi I tried my best to have a garden. I remember those peas, you know, that you plant, I forgot what you call them. But I didn’t realize that when you put all of those seeds in the ground, they’re going to come up. I was out the next day looking around seeing where those things were. Where is it? And they didn’t come up. Third day, fourth day, fifth day, several weeks went by and then I left town and came back and every neighbor there was mad at us. They asked us never to have a garden again, because we weren’t there when the stuff came up. It comes up much later than when you’ve sown. Oh, how we forget this.
Paul says we will reap in due time, so don’t lose heart, don’t grow weary. Wait upon the Lord. Don’t go back to the flesh to try to produce what is not happening quickly enough for you. Trust God; wait upon Him. I’ll be honest with you: that’s the hardest battle I have in my life. You want to know where my weaknesses are: that’s one of them right there. I want things to happen and I want things to happen right now. But you know what God keeps telling me? “Keep sowing in the right field and it will start coming up when I’m ready for it to come up. In the meantime, don’t lose heart. Don’t go back to doing what 90% of everybody else is doing to produce what will fade away to begin with. Let God do it.”
People that have lost heart are people that have forgotten the timing of the Lord and the law of the harvest. And I’m one of them from time to time. Pray for me, I need you to pray for me. When a believer resorts to producing results, whatever they may be, in his own strength and creative ability, that’s just a symptom he’s lost heart, turned coward in the midst of a fight and gone back to doing it the way he used to do it. So prayerlessness; trying to achieve ministry; forgetting our eternal destiny; and completely forgetting God’s timing in the law of the harvest are four of the symptoms of a person who has just flat-out lost heart. He’s bailed out on God. He’s now doing it in his own strength.
The fifth symptom of losing heart is when we become undisciplined in the ordinary
Finally, the fifth symptom of losing heart, and this is one I think it hits every one of us, it’s when we become undisciplined in the ordinary. You say, what in the world are you talking about? Well, let me just help you with that. You know, when we’re allowing Christ to live through us, when Christ chooses to manifest Himself in such a way that we see the results, it’s exciting.
But there’s such a tendency of so many believers of becoming undisciplined, disinterested, with the ordinary responsibilities of life. Do you know why? Because when they watch television, life is good! When they see the programs of Christianity and then they come home and they’ve got to take the garbage out and they’ve got to do the mundane, practical things of life, and for whatever reason is becomes something that they’re disinterested in, and they become undisciplined in. Ordinary things of life: paying bills on time, going to work and getting a job is what he’s directly talking about here. Taking out the trash, taking care of the children. You know, how many moms come to a service and they see the great things that God is doing and yet where to they go? They have to go back home and what do they have to do? They have to take care of a little baby who just doesn’t seem to understand when to go to the bathroom and when not to go to the bathroom. And changing those diapers is absolutely no fun and there’s no excitement in it and there’s no choir to back it up and there’s nothing in it and they get so frustrated and they become undisciplined in the ordinary.
I invited a preacher to come in and he preached on if you’re a young mom you ought to be having a Bible study on your block, you ought to be handing out this, you ought to be do that. It was so joyous to get up the next week and say, “Listen to me. If you’re at home with that little baby and you’re taking care of that child and you’re changing diapers and it’s not fun and nobody is around to applaud you and you don’t have time to go to a Bible study and there’s not enough time, listen, don’t you dare, don’t you dare shame yourself, because you’re doing exactly what God has told you to do.”
Don’t become undisciplined in the ordinary things of life. What a tendency we have in doing that. Well, I personally don’t like taking the garbage out, by the way. But I do it and I’m learning to rejoice in even doing that, because even in doing that I don’t get any goosebumps, I don’t see any visions, I don’t see anything, but yet God’s in that just like He’s in anything else that we do. So do it in obedience to Him.
Paul has much to say concerning the mundane and practical responsibilities of life such as going to work, earning a living, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11. That’s our next text. He starts off in verse 10. Some people think that because the whole context of 2 Corinthians is they thought they were in the day of the Lord—which was a crazy thing, but Paul had to straighten it out—the best is yet to come and he says that many people think that people just grew lazy. My goodness, why do anything anyway if we’re in the day of the Lord, but I don’t know about that.
Verse 10, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order,” now listen carefully to what Paul says, “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.” He didn’t say if anyone was out of a job. That is not what he says. He says if anyone was not willing to work. Not willing to work, then he ought not to eat. And you can see what’s happening there. They’re taking care of people that are just on welfare. They weren’t willing to work. He says in verse 11, “For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busy bodies.” In other words, they had so much time on their hands they got in everyone else’s business.
Whatever the problem was that caused this, Paul counters it in verse 12, and that’s our verse, “Now such persons we command and exhort in the lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.” Now, the next verse really is the one, but he counters it right here. And again, the church had become welfare to people who wouldn’t work to begin with. But then Paul turns to the others who were responsible and they were disciplined in the ordinary things of life and he says to them in verse 13, “But as for you brethren,” he turns to a wholly different group, the people that were going to work, earning a living, doing what was necessary, and there wasn’t any excitement in it. They just did what God told them to do. “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”
Boy, how we need to remember that life has its responsibilities and we have to bear our own responsibility and that’s just as godly as going to church or praying or anything else. It’s carrying through. He says in Galatians 6:5, “For each one shall bear his own load.” That’s a different word than was found in Galatians 6:2 when he says, “Bear you one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It’s two different things he’s saying there.
The word in verse 2 is when a brother is responsible, willing to work, willing to do whatever, but the load has gotten so heavy on him he can’t carry it anymore, and he’s doing everything he knows to do: trusting God in the midst of it. And he says when you see a brother like that, you go on and help him pick that load up. You get up under it for him, help him out. But the word in verse 5 is the word that means responsibility, the word bastazo. It was used of a soldier bearing his own backpack and he says, “Hey, we have to bear our own backpack. We have a responsibility.” We must not lose heart or grow weary as it is translated in 2 Thessalonians, in doing the mundane responsibilities of life.
When you lose heart, if you’re here and you’ve gone back to the flesh, it’s almost as if you’re back in the old covenant that had a fading glory to it. As a matter of fact there’s no glory left because Jesus has replaced that in the new. And you’ve gone back to doing things in your own power and your own way. And then there are some characteristics of your own life. Prayerlessness is one of them; trying to achieve a ministry instead of receiving it; forgetting in the midst of a difficult circumstance your eternal destiny and rejoicing that the inner man is growing stronger; forgetting the timing of the Lord in the law of the harvest. It comes in due season. Keep sowing in the right field. Keep sowing in the right field. Or becoming undisciplined in the ordinary responsibilities of life. When these things begin to show up, somebody has stepped back to the flesh and has lost heart.
Well, as we close let me just ask you a question. Have you lost heart? There have been times in my life that if somebody had asked me that I would have had to say yes I have. Have you lost heart? You don’t have to live that way. It all goes right back to where you began, right where you departed. Just come back and say, “Oh, God, I have sinned against You. I have chosen to take matters in my own hands; I’ve chosen not to trust You and not to trust Your Word. I’ve chosen to do things my way and I confess it as sin.” And let the blood just cleanse you and then walk out of this place tonight a brand new person, ready to be up under the new covenant, letting Jesus be Jesus in you. Let the glory that lives within you be seen on the outside of you.
That’s what it’s all about. And I just thought as I was studying this that it ministered a lot to me and I thought maybe it would minister to you. Losing heart, going back to that which is out of the flesh, which is evil, bad and wicked. Right in the middle of the battle being overwhelmed and taking your eyes off the Lord and putting them on the lions and puts us right back to where we don’t want to be.
By the way, anybody ever been there besides me? Boy, it’s no fun, is it? That’s why we can comfort wherein we’ve been comforted. Boy, if you just put the messages together, if you’ve got somebody here that has lost heart, Christianity has become mechanical to you, cold, you can’t get into anything anymore. You come into praise, you just don’t like the music, you don’t like the words, you don’t like this, and you don’t like that. Have you ever noticed somebody that’s not walking in the Spirit, they have this negative nerve or something. I’m telling you, when you’re walking in the Spirit, it’s different. You know God’s doing it, and you’re willing to rest in that and you’re praying all the time, talking to Him all the time. I love that way to live.
Sometimes I’ll stop at a stop light talking to Him. People look over like “what is he doing? There’s nobody in the car.” And I don’t realize I’m actually talking out loud. I wasn’t even thinking about that. It’s so much joy folks to live in the joy of the new covenant. That’s what made the difference in Paul. Now, if you want the old you’ve got your choice; but you see the results of it.