Stay Strong and Don’t Lose Heart
“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” —Ephesians 3:13
Trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of life, testing our resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Whether it’s personal struggles, hardships in relationships, financial difficulties, or health issues, these challenges can be overwhelming and leave us feeling somewhat defeated.
In Ephesians 3:13, Paul recognizes the church's concern over his present circumstances and how they might become discouraged by what he’s facing due to his ministry on their behalf.
Paul was the most influential minister of the gospel who had ever lived and a pioneer of church leadership, but his ministry was not without difficulties. He faced constant opposition and persecution and was imprisoned for his faith.
Yet Paul urges them not to lose heart or become dispirited but instead view his difficulties as a source of glory for themselves. He assured the church that his trials were not a cause for discouragement but a testimony to their faith. His difficulties were not to be looked at as a hindrance but as an opportunity for them to experience the power of the presence of God in their lives.
REJOICE IN YOUR TRIAL
Before we continue with that train of thought, let us remember where Paul was when he penned this tremendous epistle to the Ephesians. By the time this letter was completed, Paul had been in Roman custody for nearly three years. At times, Paul felt as if the walls of life were closing in on him and that his life was being poured out as a drink offering unto the Lord. However, it was not to be.
Nevertheless, Paul experienced suffering for the cause of Christ as very few have. Yet he viewed trials and tribulations differently than most Christians; he rejoiced in them. Some may scratch their heads and wonder how a man who suffered so much could rejoice. The answer is quite simple—he rejoiced in his trials because they were for Christ’s sake. One could say that Paul rejoiced despite his suffering because these trials and tribulations did not rob him of his joy. That is quite a statement!
Regardless of the circumstances that life presented, the joy of the Lord was his strength. Irrespective of his outward circumstances, Paul was not focusing on those issues. Instead, he took great comfort in knowing that God was in control. His joy came from the inside, not the outside. His joy came from trusting that God would provide and perform His work irrespective of the chains that held him captive.
THREE APPLICATIONS FOR EVERY BELIEVER
So, how should the church view these trials for their glory? Let’s begin with this thought: whatever the circumstance, God is still in control. Whatever may happen to the believer, we must take comfort in knowing that God has either caused it or allowed it to happen. As a result, instead of questioning the Lord in whatever He does, we must trust Him that He knows exactly what He is doing. The reason for this is that God is sovereign. God knows everything, and everything that He does is right. We may not fully understand or grasp why things happen, but everything He does is right. God never makes mistakes. We must take solace in knowing that God is still at work, even when things are difficult, and that He uses our experiences for His purpose.
Second, that which He causes or allows is a part of our spiritual growth. As such, we are to take a page out of Paul’s playbook and rejoice in our trials, knowing that whatever happens, God will ultimately receive the glory. That’s why we must rejoice in our trials and not complain or murmur because of our suffering. The central theme of Ephesians 3:13 is that God is demonstrating His glory through trials and tribulations and inviting us to participate in that glory through faith and perseverance. This should remind us that, as Christians, our ultimate goal is to bring glory to God and that our struggles can ultimately be used for this purpose.
Third, we must understand that we are not alone in our suffering. Satan is good at making believers feel like they are the only ones going through a specific trial and, therefore, no one can help us. But that’s not the case at all. Scores of Christians have gone through what you may be facing, and they can provide much needed help and support. Others may know exactly what you may be feeling, and they can assist you in getting through that circumstance, which is why it’s so vital to grasp the idea of Christian community. Not only is God still present, but so are other believers. The church is a must for Christians, and supporting our fellow believers who are suffering is a must as well. As Christians, we should bend over backward to help fellow believers through their trials and tribulations. And even though we may not fully understand what that person might be going through, we should always offer them support with our prayers.
WHAT SHOULD OUR POSITION BE WHEN WE SEE ANOTHER CHRISTIAN HURTING?
Allow me to express my personal feelings regarding this subject. When we see fellow Christians struggling, we should never kick them while they’re down. We should never gossip about their struggles. We should never ignore their cries for help. We should never turn them away. We should never try to destroy their character or slander their name. Christians have earned their stripes in destroying fellow believers who are down when we should be showing the world what it means to restore and lift up fellow believers from their struggles.
Christians can be so self-righteous that they have no qualms about rejecting their brothers and sisters in the Lord who are hurting. Instead, why don’t we show that person the same grace that God has shown us? Why don’t we help our brothers and sisters in the Lord by showing them the cross in action? When the cross is properly working in our lives, we will extend grace and mercy to others because we understand that God has provided us with more grace and mercy than we’ll ever know. We realize that we are not perfect, but we serve a perfect Savior. We know that we may not have all the answers, but we know someone who does. Our responsibility is to help our fellow believers when they are struggling, not kick them when they’re down.
BE RESILIENT IN YOUR FAITH
Ephesians 3:13 is a powerful verse that encourages believers everywhere to persevere in the face of adversity and that our trials and tribulations are not the cause for discouragement but rather an opportunity for us to experience the glory of God in our lives.
Through our faith being anchored in the finished work of Christ, we can demonstrate resiliency and what it means to be transformed into the image of God. This verse is a call to action, urging us to embrace our difficulties with hope, knowing that God will see us through and that whatever may come, He will receive the glory.
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