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Giving Up is Not an Option!

By Dr. Shana Wise

Good Friday Message Year 2023

2 Corinthians 4 (NLT)

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Even though it is Good Friday today, for many of us in the faith, we have had days where we felt like giving up. We have come out of a pandemic that started in 2020, but afterward, it left a heavy spirit of depression. Mental illness is on the rise, and it is at the highest it has been in our country. It is affecting people young and old. We as believers are not exempt from sometimes falling into depression, being discouraged, feeling hopeless, and overall, just going through difficult times. For some of us, it has felt like a constant struggle that doesn’t seem to let up, and we have just learned to deal with it even though deep down inside we want relief.

On today, I want us to see that our Lord Jesus Christ suffering through the cross gives us strength to endure our trials. I want us to see that no matter how hard our lives get and how dark the world seems to be, giving up is not an option.

In this passage of scripture, the Apostle Paul is talking about the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He describes some of the things we must go through because of our faith in Christ.

He starts off by saying to never give up because God has given us a ministry. All believers have a ministry in Christ because ministry means serving others. You do not have to be a preacher/apostle, like Paul, be you have a responsibility to spread the Good News through your lifestyle. When you are truly walking in your God-given purpose, through Christ Jesus, you will experience difficulties because of who you belong to. Jesus had to endure his cross, and we will have to endure ours.

In verse 4, Paul talks about Satan blinding the eyes of the unbelievers. Since we are the light of the world, for the ones living in darkness, our ministry contradicts and offends their lifestyle. Due to this fact, we will often experience persecution from them. Jesus does not want us to take it personally, even if it doesn’t feel good while we are enduring it, he wants us to understand the nature of the conflict, which is light and darkness.

Paul goes on to say that he preaches Christ. He is unashamed of the ministry that has been given to him because he personally encountered Christ for himself. He knows that Jesus is real despite the hardships that he had to face.

2 Cor. 4:8-10, We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

This is what our savior Jesus had to endure for us through the cross, and since he overcame, and didn’t give up, we can too!

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane felt pressed on every side, to the point that he prayed and sweated blood.

Mark 13:34-35 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

Jesus experienced trouble before going to the cross and hanging on the cross.

What was perplexing to us, not Jesus, was that his disciples deserted, Peter denied him, and Judas betrayed him.

He was hunted down, more like conspired against, by the Pharisees (Mark 14:1-2). They plotted to get Jesus crucified.

He was knocked down. Matthew 26:67-68 (high priest mob spit on Jesus, hit him with their fist, and slapped him around).

He suffered on the cross and died.

Through all these things Jesus wasn’t crushed, he wasn’t desperate, he was not abandoned by God, he wasn’t destroyed, rather he overcame all these obstacles through dying on the cross and his resurrection.

Jesus didn’t give up!

He did not give up because he remembered the purpose of the cross. He remembered that it wasn’t about himself, he was dying for the sins of the world. He was dying so that we could have everlasting life.

Jesus knew that giving up wasn’t an option, because He is God, and God is love. Love never fails.

Part of Jesus’ purpose was the cross and God created all of us with a purpose. Our purpose will include a personal cross that we must bear for Christ’s sake. There will be times, like Jesus, when our cross will get heavy, and it seems too hard to bare. Yet we must remember that every time we continue to move forward despite all that we are going through, Christ is perfected in us.

Lastly, like Christ, we must remember that our sufferings are not about us, rather, it's about testimony that is being developed in us.

Revelation 12:11, And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

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About the Author

Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor that founded and oversees Wise Choice Ministries with her husband Deacon Ron Wise. She is also the CEO and founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network. Dr. Wise is the author of Women’s Devotionals Acts of Intercession and Chief Women Arise, The Impact of Your Election, and the Basic Ministry Training Manual (all available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets. Shana is married and has four children.

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Acts of Intercession

The Impact of Your Election

Basic Ministry Training Manual

Chief Women Arise

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