Recently I visited with an old friend and fellow-soldier in the faith. Years ago we had dared to believe God could and would use us to do the “impossible” for His glory. And He did! But in my recent visit with him, the old fire was gone. The “can do” spirit had dried up into a morose preoccupation with past disappointments. I was reminded of the fact that more people quit ministering to others over bitterness than problems with immorality.
This morning in my devotions – with that recent visit on my mind – I discovered seven reasons the Scriptures give as to why people grow weary and lose heart – all stemming from the little Greek word, egkakeo. Basically the word describes a person who no longer is living life in step with the Spirit. Rather, he has grown selfish and self-contained, exhibiting little concern for others. Here are the seven reasons :
1. A failure to maintain a vital life of prayer — “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1)
2. A failure to keep in mind the privilege of our divine calling to minister — “Therefore, since through God‘s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1)
3. A failure to keep in mind the fact that we will share in Christ’s triumphant resurrection — “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… Therefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:14, 16a)
4. A failure to keep in mind the immediate task of promoting believers’ spiritual welfare and the glory of God — “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… ” (2 Corinthians 4:15, 16a)
5. A failure to take the long view in reaping the fruit of our efforts — “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
6. A failure to trust that God has a larger purpose when fellow believers suffer — “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” (Ephesians 3:13)
7. A failure to press on in righteous living, even when you don’t feel like it — “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
So, let me ask you: Do you still have that spring in your step? Do you still look forward to getting up in the morning and getting at it for God? Or has the dry rot of self-centeredness set in?
No, you are better than that! As His children, let’s once again take ourselves by the nap of the neck and determine to “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)