Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, (2 Corinthian 4:1 NASB)
Paul knew that anyone who preaches or embraces the Gospel would experience resistance. Therefore, Paul urges them to never lose heart.
Paul was speaking primarily to the gentiles or Greeks. Remember that the Greeks thought preaching the Cross was foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23 NASB). Paul’s message to the Greeks was not seeker sensitive; it was “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2b NASB). Paul had purposed to know and proclaim nothing but the simple Gospel message.
Paul was preparing the believers in Corinth for the reality of anyone who embraces the Gospel. Paul knew through his life experience that preaching the simple Gospel would bring complex problems. Therefore, he tells his readers twice in 2 Corinthians 4:1,16 NASB to “never lose heart.” The opposition would come, but there would be victory if we do not lose hope.
The strategy of our adversary, the Devil, is to steal our hope. Resistance over a long time can bring discouragement and hijack our hope. Hope is the John the Baptist of faith; it always goes before it. If the Devil can take away your hope, he has negated your faith. The Bible says that “without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6a NASB).
Circumstances are real, but they are not the actual enemy. It is the powers of darkness working through them to defeat us. Negative experiences can be for or against us, depending on whether we react in faith or unbelief.
Our great hope is that one day, just as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, so shall we (1 Thessalonians 1:16). Keep your eye on the prize, and you will never lose heart.
The image is used with permission from Microsoft.