Understanding and Knowing the Book of Ephesians – Chapter 3
Scripture:Ephesians 3:13–16 (ESV)
13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
What is Discouragement: A Description of the Problem
·DEFINITION: lose heart/ἐγκακέω/enkakeō – to lose enthusiasm, lose motivation, to be discouraged, to become weary.
oA sense of unhappiness arising from a loss of confidence in one’s own abilities, in the reliability of God or in the power of the gospel. Discouragement can occur in the Christian life, especially
when there is resistance to the gospel or in instances of personal failure. Scripture provides reassurance for those who experience discouragement. This is a feeling that comes when you are no longer able to do what you used to do.
Discouragement is the ‘common cold’ of the emotions.
· A Bible example.
o Elijah, the prophet of God, had this great experience at Carmel – severe progress had been made against the false prophets of Baal. Elijah had prayed to let the God who answers by fire be God – and God did answer by fire – so astonishingly so that a revival had broken out.
o But look what happens next…
1 Kin. 19:1 through 1 Kin. 19:4 (NLT)
1When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had slaughtered the prophets of Baal. 2So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods also kill me if by this time tomorrow I have failed to take your life like those whom you killed.”
3Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 4Then he went on alone into the desert, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
o What’s going on with Elijah?
- This is the ‘discouragement phenomenon’
- The day before ‘macho man’ Elijah stood up to 850 prophets.
- He single handedly took on 850 men.
- The next day, he cannot even stand up to one women – Jezebel!
- This is how discouragement breaks people down.
- Elijah is discouraged because he was a goal
- His goal to sweep Ahab and Jezebel and their
false worship of Baal right out of Israel.
- Though he put a dent in that – Ahab and
Jezebeel were still very much in control.
- Elijah became discouraged because he thought everyday was going to be Sunday!!!
§ Now that he had a spiritual break through, he thought every day was going to be a fire falling, devil chasing, and miraculous outpouring day.
§ We must learn to enjoy the normal everyday situations of life.
§ Most of life, in and of itself, is normal, straightforward, nothing special kind of days.
§ Since this is true, you must learn to enjoy the normal everyday situations of life.
Praying for Strength: The Prescription for Discouragement
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Fath
er, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
o Isn’t it interesting that Paul is praying for the Ephesians and he is the one that is in jail!!!
§ If anyone should be discouraged, it was Paul and yet Paul acts like nothing is going on with him. His sole concern is other people.
o Read… and note – this praying for strength in the inner man is the prescription for the cold of the emotions called discouragement.
§ Get strong on the inside and it shows up on the outside.
· The same thing is true in the natural – your body gets run down and you have to build your body up – take extra vitamins, you work out, you sleep a little extra – you know build yourself up!
· Discouragement is a sign or a symptom of the condition of my inner man.
o It is a lack of strength problem.
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
o If you faint, if you become discouraged – your strength level is small – in order to reverse it – you have to build yourself up.
§ Mark it down, you are not going to feel like doing it when you are discouraged!!!
§ You have to make yourself do it – the same thing that you have to do when you don’t feel well physically.
Proverbs 18:14 (AMP)
14 The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?
o The strong spirit of a man will sustain him
§ If you feel like you are going down, that’s an inside strength problem and not a circumstance problem.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Isaiah 40:28–31 (ESV)
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
§ So, you see this connection between praying and strength
· Paul is praying for the Ephesians that they be strengthened.
o It takes strong people to deal with strong problems.
· As you can see in these Old Testament scriptures, we are encouraged to pray and to get into God’s presence ourselves; to wait on Him ourselves.
· Here is the New Testament version of this.
James 5:13 (ESV)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
· Are you suffering discouragement – then pray!
· Take a little extra time to pray and wait on God
Jude 20 (ESV)
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
· Building yourself up – that’s being strengthened – how? By praying in the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:4 (ESV)
4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
Praying for strength is the prescription for discouragement!