Monday, September 10, 2012

Encouraging The Hopeless

It is an unfortunate fact that some Christians have as much emotional problems as those without Jesus. They suffer loneliness, depression, anger, despair, thoughts of hopelessness. When difficulties cross their path what they called faith dries up and they fold like a house of cards. There is no power, just a propped up fa├žade.

I am not being critical because most of us have been there, but if we are going to be an encourager, a people person, then we need to know how to deal with these Christians. We need to know how to help them go from wretchedness to a powerhouse of faith. It starts by praying for them, that they would receive a revelation of who they are in Jesus, because a lot of Christians don't know. Consider three of the things Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Paul first prayed that God would enlighten them, give them greater understanding of the hope to which we have been called. When we realize the truth of the promises of Jesus and where our real treasures lie we realize that everything can be stripped from us in this place and we would still be rich beyond compare. If our hope is in anything in this world, be it money, possessions or friends, then it is a flimsy hope that will eventually fall apart. There is only one hope that is eternal and it is found in Jesus.

Christians without hope are Christians who have lost sight of Jesus or who have yet to receive their own personal revelation. Jesus is not someone we can know by second hand knowledge. If our hope is to remain intact in all circumstance we must have a vibrant and growing relationship with the source of our hope.

We must also pray for these struggling Christians that the promises of Jesus would become the most certain thing in their life. Their attitude must be "Jesus said it, I believe it" and they must be willing to act on those promises. They need to come to know the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. He has given us these promises to act on so that he will be glorified in us, so the world would look at us and marvel, so that people would see him in us in all situations and circumstances. We rob Jesus of his glory when we lose hope.

We need to pray that these cowering Christians would realize the power that possesses them. I guess that must be the most tragic thing about struggling Christians. It is like a man dying of thirst because he didn't realize that the jug in the room was filled with water. The resurrection power of Jesus Christ is in us so that we would live powerful lives for his glory, so that every shadow of the enemy would be vanquished from our sight.

Jesus is not glorified in our complaining. He is not glorified when we express despair and hopelessness. He is not glorified when we give up and walk away. He is glorified when we live in the power he has filled us with. Power to defeat the enemy. Power to overcome all our circumstances. Power to live above any persecution that we may face. Power to stand our ground and defend what belongs to the King of kings. There is nothing in this world that can come against the power of Jesus in us. "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

So perhaps these are things we need to refresh ourselves in as we pray for our struggling brothers and sisters. Don't criticize them. Don't become impatient. Don't give up. Pray for them. Encourage them. Be with them. Pray for these things in their life and watch what Jesus does. Be faithful in your prayers. You are here, mighty warrior, to defend the weak, suffering and blind. Your weapon is prayer.

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