Following Jesus 167

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

The Castle of Doubt and the Giant of Despair. 2 Corinthians 4:1-18.

Doubt is not trusting. It is not being committed to live for God, to acknowledge dependence upon God and to not worship the One, True God of the Bible in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Doubt is uncertainty and having a lack of conviction for what you believe and to what and to whom you are committed. It is no longer having confidence in what God has promised in His Word.

Despair is a lack of confidence in the character of God. It is hopelessness, disheartenment, discouragement and desperation because of circumstances and situations. Doubt and despair can occur at any time if we are not watchful. Doubt and despair can occur because of any situation, especially persecution, if we are not careful to rest in the truth from God.

As Pastor Burk Parson’s writes, “As Christians of conviction, we will continue to fight for our constitutional freedoms. Yet, in the final analysis, we must always remember that ultimately we fight not against men but against the spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). Ultimately, we fight on our knees, praying for all who are in authority over us (1 Tim. 2:2). We are citizens of our nations, and we are citizens of Christ’s kingdom. As such, we can pray for national leaders even when we must vote against them. We pray for the persecuted and for our persecutors. We love our enemies while praying for their defeat—their coming to the end of themselves in repentance and faith” (Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 4:12–13).

He continues by saying, “In the face of persecution, we must not lose hope. We must not fear our enemies but fear the Lord as we stand our ground in the battle ahead. Jesus told us we would be persecuted, but He also told us He has overcome the world (Matt. 5:10–12; John 16:33). Regardless of whether we ever die as martyrs for our faith, we are all witnesses of Christ. Though they may imprison us, shun us, despise us, or kill us, they can never really hurt us. For we conquer by dying—humbly dying to self that we may, under any persecution our Lord sovereignly allows, boldly proclaim Christ and Him crucified. And when we are persecuted for Christ’s sake, not for being obnoxious, we can count ourselves blessed. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Christians are not so much in danger when they are persecuted as when they are admired.”

What can we learn from our personal pressures and persecutions because of Christ? Next time we begin to look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-18.

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