“I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are for your glory. For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father.” Ephesians 3:14
Paul’s words remind me of an old show tune made famous by the brassy songstress Ethel Merman, “Yah Gotta Have Heart.”
When it comes to physical life, there is just no substitute for heart. It doesn’t matter how strong the skeletal structure may be, or how toned the muscles are, without a beating heart there is no life.
In similar fashion, spiritual life requires a person to have heart. This is more than a beating, blood-pumping organ of the body. It is the source of courage in the lives of believers that keeps the tribulations or crises of life from robbing them of the joy of life’s journey. A physical body has a life beating heart. A spiritual faith has a courageous, life-giving heart.
There is a purpose for everything. Nothing happens in life without meaning and purpose. There are no random, meaningless events or purposeless days. The enemy seeks to rob believers of the significance of the slightest second, and the taking of each of breath. Paul had faced his share of crises.
The fog of war blinds the sight of believers. The battle fatigue of life grinds the life out of believers. Over time they lose their capacity to see through the confusion or their courage to march through the conflict. Believers need both to be revived.
Confusion and conflict create a cancerous erosion of courage in the heart of even the strongest believer. Once they lose heart, they begin the struggle for survival with little hope of revival. They stop walking with God, and begin marching in place.
This loss of heart signifies the first step towards slow agonizing retreat. The enemy cannot rob a believer of eternal life, but the enemy is more than capable of making life a living hell.
Paul revealed the source of his life-giving, purpose filled courage in the face of tribulation. He embraced prayer as the means by which he had obtained it, and he now revealed how he interceded for others to receive it. He knew they needed it.
What was this great mystery Paul celebrated with joy. “To be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:6)The mystery was no longer the best-kept secret in the world. It was a source of great joy to the Gentiles, and it amazed the “rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10)
Through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, His resurrection from the dead, His ascendance into Heaven, and His unceasing intercession for the saints at the right hand of the Father, intercessory prayer provided to Paul and to every believer “boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3:12)
Prayerless people lose heart in a crisis. Prayerful people find courage as they pray their way through it. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!