It's Not in Vain
Dear Friend, Have you faced moments of overwhelming discouragement? Times when you felt as if a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice has been for nothing? Wondering whether all your efforts and best intentions have been in vain? These sentiments were well expressed in the old folk hymn, “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” when the lyricist wrote: “Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain. But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.” Are you hoping for the Holy Spirit to revive you? In the struggle against this kind of deep discouragement—you might even be facing it right now—the Lord can indeed revive you and renew your hope. If this letter helps in the process, that would be great!
A Nagging Issue
A few years ago, some DPM friends I had visited asked if they could invite their neighbors to a dinner we were planning in their area. The guests had a desire to learn more about the work of Derek Prince Ministries. It was a great time of fellowship with this Christian couple who were new to DPM—wonderful, faithful people who had worked as lay leaders and Bible study teachers. Even so, there seemed to be a shadow over them. Toward the end of our time together, they began to open up, sharing honestly about an issue that was nagging at them. They knew they had served the Lord faithfully. Yet they were saddened that, despite their tireless work for the Lord, their grown children had somehow turned against the Christian faith. It caused them to wonder if all of their spiritual devotion and selfless labors for godly purposes had been for naught: “Has all of this simply been in vain?”
Encouragement from the Word
I try to be very careful about speaking into the lives of others—especially those I am meeting for the first time. But I knew the Lord was giving me a word for them from the Scriptures. The message had a prophetic edge that fit their situation, so I asked their permission to share it with them. The word for this dear couple was almost directly from 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Tom and Emily [not their real names], this is what I believe the Lord wants to say to you right now: ‘My beloved brother and sister, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. The work you have done is not in vain. It’s not in vain.’” The prophetic word went on to encourage them that the Lord had seen their many instances of sacrificial service to Him. He was pleased with all they had accomplished. The negative response of their grown kids was something they simply had to leave in His hands. First and foremost, they needed to know that the Lord had taken note of their work for Him. Their labors had not been in vain.
It Counts for Something
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had similar moments when I needed this kind of encouragement. You and I carry a deep need to know that our service for the Lord counts for something—that what we are doing is making a difference. What about your present situation? Would it help you to hear words of approval from the Lord? Why not receive them by faith as you read this letter? Take a stand—affirming your belief that your work is not in vain and that the Lord will reward your efforts. Other men and women of God have needed this same assurance, including Jesus, our Savior. Although it was primarily for the benefit of the crowd following Him, the Father’s words of approval from heaven also lifted His heart greatly: “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Isaiah struggled with this same issue: “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, and my work with my God” (Isa. 49:4). David also: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psa. 27:13, NAS).
Coming into Victory
Derek Prince often spoke of the battle he waged against personal discouragement and depression, finally overcoming those barriers by applying the Word of God in his life. In that regard, here is an excerpt from a teaching called, You Can Come Through Victorious. It begins with Derek making a personal proclamation—one taken from the very passage cited earlier in this letter: 1 Corinthians 15:57–58.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, we are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Amen! I wonder if you’ve been in a situation where it took all your strength to force those words out of your mouth. “We are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” I’ve been in a place where it took all my spiritual strength just to say those words, because the pressures were so intense and all the evidence of victory was absent. But it is still true, because it is the Word of God. The theme of this message is how to come through victorious. Not just to squeeze through; not just survive; but to come through victorious.
Later in this same teaching, Derek added another helpful insight. He makes the point that our work—and all the trials we endure in that labor—is for more than any reward we may see or receive immediately. It is for the benefit of those who follow after us.
I’ll just close with what I consider to be Paul’s response to this challenge. These are words from Second Timothy 2:10 that have become very, very real to me just recently. Paul says: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect [the chosen ones], that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” I believe that is a motivation that will take you through the pressures, the trials, the disappointments, the persecutions, whatever it takes. You have to have a vision. That is my vision. I got it from Paul. I endure all things—whatever it takes—for the sake of God’s chosen ones, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Standing in the Truth
Can you reach out in faith now to receive this truth—that your labor has NOT been in vain? Your life and your efforts count for something—not only in the present, but for all eternity. Even if the evidence around you seems slim right now, it is still your time to take a stand in the truth of God’s Word. Let’s do so together with the following prayer:
Lord, I will not give in to despair. Instead, I will resist any thought that my life and my work have been in vain, and I will stand firm in Your truth. By Your grace, I will be steadfast, immovable, abounding even more in Your work, O Lord. I believe, like David, that I will see Your goodness in the land of the living. I believe, like Isaiah, that my reward is with you. In fact, as You declared to Abram in Genesis 15:1, I believe that You, Yourself, are my exceedingly great reward. My life and my work have value and meaning—for today and for the future. I receive Your promise to me—that my labor for You is not in vain. Therefore, I will continue to move forward in Your purposes for my life. I will push through any trials, any disappointments, any resistance—doing whatever it takes to continue in my work and service to You, my God and my King. Strengthen me to that end, I pray, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Taking a Stand
With that prayer, you and I have just drawn a line in the sand. We have confronted the enemy who accuses and demeans us—the one who constantly tries to make us feel like we are worthless. In the face of that enemy and every other accusing voice, we have boldly declared this truth from God’s Word: It’s not in vain. My life counts for something in God! All of us here at Derek Prince Ministries want to link arms with you in the stand you have just taken. We want to encourage you in every way possible. One help we can provide is a selection of reliable biblical materials for you from Derek Prince. Let’s start with our free MP3 of the message from which Derek’s excerpt was taken: You Can Come Through Victorious. Simply use the download link below. We are so thankful to be in an ongoing relationship with you. With deep gratitude, we want to express our thanks for your prayers for us and your financial contributions to this work. Because of you and many generous friends of DPM, we have been able to expand the impact of Derek’s teaching—not only to you, but all around the world.
You and I have established ourselves today in a truth that is essential for our future. We have negated the lie the enemy uses to incapacitate us as followers of Jesus Christ—that nothing we do makes any difference. We have broken its hold over us. Now, we can move boldly into the purposes God has prepared for us, knowing that our lives and our work for Jesus Christ are making great impact for the sake of His Kingdom. As we close, I want to encourage you to declare the truth—often and loudly—that we have affirmed in this letter. And what again is that truth? “My life matters to the Lord. My work has great value to Him. It’s not in vain.”