Two times in 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says rather defiantly, “we never give up.” (NLT) In the ESV it is translated this way...“we do not lose heart.”
What might possibly tempt Paul to “give up”?
Well, things were hard. Serving Christ is not always easy.
The first time he says that “we never give up” is in 2 Corinthians 4:1.
Look at how Paul describes his situation starting in verse 8. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but not destroyed.”
Wow! Pressed on every side by troubles...perplexed...hunted down...knocked down. Can you relate to any of these feelings?
So, what is it that causes Paul to defiantly say, “we never give up”?
Paul understands the upside-down wisdom of Christ. When we suffer, the life of Jesus shines through us. He says in verse 10, “Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
The very thing that is causing you to think about giving up may be the very thing that God will use to shine his glory through your life.
Paul says it again in verse 16, “we never give up.”
What is it that is causing him to endure this time? Paul recognizes two positive truths about the problems he is facing.
First, our troubles are relatively short in comparison to the glory that awaits us. But even more promising, enduring through our struggles is being used by God to produce an eternal glory!
The very thing that may cause you to want to give up is the very thing God is using for your eternal good.
How can we make sure not to lose sight of these things? How can we make sure we too don’t give up when things get hard?
Paul says in verse 16 that he is “being renewed every day.” I find that I need this daily reminder because often these things that make us want to throw in the towel and quit don’t easily go away.
He also adds in verse 18, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
What about you? What is causing you to want to give up? What is causing you to lose heart? Be encouraged and see the opportunity in it.
These troubles that are pressing in from every side are the best opportunity you have to let the light of Christ shine through you.
Through these challenging moments, God is accomplishing an eternal glory that vastly outweighs our struggles.
Be faithful. God is at work. “We never give up!”