12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through faith in him . 13 Therefore, I ask you not to despair concerning my afflictions for you, which is for your glory. (Ephesians 3:12-13 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
The words “not to despair” above translate μὴ ἐγκακεῖν. Μὴ or mē expresses absolute denial. Paul is expressing his desire to the Ephesians that they DO NOT do something. That something is ἐγκακεῖν that is the Present tense, Infinitive mood, Active voice form of ἐκκακέω or ekkakeō, which literally means, “to turn out to be a coward, to lose one’s courage, to faint or despond in view of trial or to be utterly spiritless.” So perhaps my translation of “not to despair” seems insufficient in light of this, but what we must see is that the verb structure Paul used here is speaking of a way of life not a one-time action.
This sort of encouragement would make no sense in the theology of most of those who preach Your Best Life Now or Name It and Claim It or Health, Wealth, and Prosperity as the focus of Christianity. However, anyone with any depth to their Biblical knowledge knows that those are heresies and not Biblically sound at all. Instead, what we learn is that the true Christian will be persecuted in this world because he or she will not be of the World. He or she will be in the World, but not be of the World. The World loves it own and hates the real Gospel because it condemns all that are of the World and not of Christ. You see, no one can be of both. Therefore, Paul is telling us that we can be persecuted. He wrote this letter to the Ephesians from prison. Paul is challenging all of us to not faint, not to sink into despondency not to become so dispirited and cowardly that we just quit.
Repost from Sept 2015