Vol.XV No.II Pg.3
April 1978

We Won't Give Up!

Dan S. Shipley

Few have served Christ under more difficult circumstances than did the apostle Paul. He acknowledges being pressed on every side, perplexed, pursued and smitten down (2 Cor. 4:8-10). Later (chp.11) he details many of the things he has suffered as a minister of Christ. Read the list and wonder whether we could endure such hardships and discouragement. Many lesser men have succumbed to less opposition but Paul says, "we faint not" (2 Cor. 4:16); i.e.; "we do not lose heart", or, as a later version puts it, "I never give up". The secret to Paul's endurance is revealed in this and following verses.

With Paul, every Christian should say, "We won't give up" because, although the outward man is perishing, "our inward man is renewed day by day" (v.16). Aging and its infirmities are apparent to all. They remind us that this tabernacle of flesh is soon to be put off. With Paul's evaluation, we see the importance of being concerned with the spiritual over the temporal. Our inward man is strengthened as we lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20) and set our minds on the things that are above (Col. 3:2). No longer are we obsessed with making provision for the flesh; no longer will we be distracted by the cares, riches and pleasures of this life. As God's pilgrims who have learned the worth of the soul and the frailties of the flesh, we take courage and press on.

We won't give up because we are able to see our problems and afflictions in perspective. Compared to the eternal weight of glory, they are light (v. 17). What some would call a dreadful load (especially in Paul's case) is seen as nothing in view of the glory awaiting the faithful. Our afflictions are light when compared with his and other early Christians. Also, they are temporary; for the moment." Pleasure but so is pain. The disappointments and problems of life under the sun will pass but our future blessedness is eternal. In addition, we see our afflictions as being beneficial; as something that "worketh or us". We know that tribulation can contribute to steadfastness (Rom. 5:3). As Paul's "thorn in the flesh" worked for him, so can ours. For the faithful, blessings can be borne on the wings of tragedy. Adversity will come, but it will not conquer so long as we view it as being light, temporary and beneficial. We do not give up because "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (v. 18). That is, we do not have undue regard for the temporal and transitory. We do not entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life (2 Tim. 2:4) because we walk by faith, not by sight. Like Moses, we endure "as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27).

We won't gve up because we long for that "building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens (5:1). We have the greatest incentive for persevering! What earthly gain could possibly compensate for missing heaven and being at home with the Lord (v.8)? So, "let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap..."