AN ENCOURAGING WORD IN A DISCOURAGING WORLD
Life is relentless—it just keeps coming and coming. The daily grind will wear you down. Our world is a pressure cooker of problems. It will suck the life right out of you. Discouragement is a constant temptation.
Somehow we have gotten the idea that this is unique to our age—that the problems we face are more immense than any known in the history of man. I will assure you that the challenges faced by God’s people today ought not to be minimized, but they are nothing new.
Imagine how tough it was to be a Christian in the first century dwelling in the heart of heathenism—imperial Rome. All roads led to Rome and when the people came there from the far-flung reaches of the world, they brought their idolatry and their immorality. Rome was like a cesspool where every kind of filth had flowed. Yet, there God planted a church. It not only took root in the decadent culture, it thrived!
Those early Christians were mostly poor, often persecuted, but were full of hope and marked by joy. You can hear it in Paul’s voice as he writes to the saints at Rome. He shares some encouraging words in a discouraging world. Listen to his words:
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—
12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (NKJV)
This week we will consider this passage in more detail and find for us an encouraging word in a discouraging world!