Don’t Lose Heart
Duane Vander Klok
One of the biggest problems people face is discouragement. This is even true when it comes to spiritual things. We have a tendency to think that everything should happen more quickly than it sometimes does. We pray and wait…and wait some more. After awhile, we can be tempted to lose heart and give up.
In the natural world, a farmer goes out and plows his field, plants some seed, and when he checks two weeks later, there are little green plants poking up through the soil. But often in our spiritual lives, we can sow a seed and not see much happening right away. You can keep doing the right things for weeks, months and sometimes years and find yourself wondering, “Is this even making a difference?”
The Bible encourages us saying, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). But how do we keep from losing heart?
It helps to remember that difficulties, enemies, obstacles and problems are a normal part of every Christian’s life. Just because you experience those things doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing something wrong. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
The reality is, anytime you attempt to move in a positive direction, there is going to be some opposition. Circumstances will get in the way. There will be obstacles and enemies, but Jesus said to take heart. That is great news, but it gets even better: 1 John 4:4 ties His victory to yours when it says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
What You Believe
What you believe makes a huge difference. In a time of trouble, the psalmist David wrote, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”(Psalm 27:13). If you believe that God is faithful, that He is good and that He is for you, you won’t easily lose heart.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Biblical faith involves believing three things: that God exists, that He is a rewarder and that He will reward you when you seek Him. “Faith is,” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) tells us, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” It is the confident belief that things not yet seen will happen the way God’s Word says.
When your faith is challenged and you are feeling weary, you would do well to read Ephesians 1:15-23 and pray in agreement with the Apostle Paul. Remind yourself that God loves you, that He saved you for a purpose, that you have a rich inheritance and that His unlimited power is available to you. In fact, the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you (Romans 8:11) and is working for your good.
Did you notice that Paul’s prayer doesn’t ask God to send more power or to send angels to help? No, he prayed that God would open our eyes so we can see and know the power that is already working in us. Why did he pray that? So we would not lose heart.
When you start to feel discouraged, shift your focus away from the problem and look to God’s unlimited power that is already working on your behalf. When you believe you will see God’s goodness in the land of the living, you will not lose heart.
In the first chapter of Joshua, we read that Moses has died and God has made Joshua the new leader over the children of Israel. He faced great challenges, but in verse 5, God tells him, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life.” In verse 6, He tells him: “Be strong and of good courage.” In verse 7: “Be strong and very courageous.” In verses 9 and 18: “Be strong and of good courage.” Over and over again, God poured instruction and encouragement into Joshua. Why? Because he was tempted to lose heart.
We are not so different from Joshua. We all need to be encouraged, refreshed and renewed each day. The encouragement and advice God gave to Joshua enabled him to overcome all the adversity he faced, and it will do the same for you. God said, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us that “the Word of God is living and powerful…” It brings life and power to us every time we take it in. No matter what is going on in your life, keep filling yourself with God’s Word. Read it, meditate on it, let it settle into your heart so that it is reflected in your words and actions. Why not get in the habit of reading a chapter while having your morning coffee, listening to an audio Bible while driving in the car or working out or reading a page or two before going to sleep each night. Even a little of God’s Word in your heart can make a big difference!
Strengthen Yourself in the Lord
As with Joshua, we can learn much from what David did during a time of terrible distress. While he and six hundred of his fighting men were away, their enemies, the Amalekites, stole all their possessions, destroyed their homes and took their women and children captive. David and his men returned to find nothing but a smoking pile of rubble. Everything and everyone was gone. 1 Samuel 30:4 tells us, “David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.”They were utterly devastated – and who wouldn’t be?
Like the rest of the men, David had no choice in what had happened, but he recognized that he did have a choice in how he was going to respond. He could stand there and see nothing but the disaster and his pain or he could look beyond the rubble and see God. He could have completely lost heart, but instead, 1 Samuel 30:6 tells us, “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
Then, “David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all’” (1 Samuel 30:8). David did as God said, and without fail, everything and everyone that had been taken was recovered.
When in distress, you, like David, have a choice. You can focus on the trouble you face or you can look beyond it and see the God you believe in. You can choose to strengthen yourself in the Lord. How? By reminding yourself what the scriptures say about Him and His promises and by “inquiring of the Lord” as David did. Ask God for His direction and then apply His truth to the situation you are facing. God says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”(Jeremiah 33:3).
You are not alone, and you are not powerless. The Bible reminds us that God Himself said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is saying, “Not only will I never physically leave you, but my heart will never turn away from you.” Be assured and encouraged that when God says never, He means never. God has not left you or forsaken you, and He never will.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Keep on guarding your heart and believing what God says. Continue sowing and doing good, and do not let yourself grow weary. God is true to His Word. While you may not always understand everything that happens, you will reap a harvest. Do not lose heart!
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)