February 21, 2023
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 of the tremendous hardships he and his co-laborers in the Lord were facing. They were afflicted in every way. They were perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and constantly delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:8-11). Despite all of this, he writes to the church at Corinth, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NAS95)
While facing death and heavy persecution on a daily basis, Paul was able to say, “I do not lose heart!” How could he say this? How could he have this attitude? What can we learn from him that will give us this kind of resilient faith that can find joy in the worst of trials?
First, note that Paul focuses on the inner man, not the outer man. Though our outer man (our body) faces decay, our inner man can be powerfully renewed by the Lord. Our inner man can be glowing, even when our circumstances are very dim. Second, notice that Paul focuses on the “eternal weight of glory” that is being produced by the afflictions he faces. When we face trials, let us focus on the fact that for the faithful, those trials are producing a weight of glory for us in the heavenly realm. With this proper perspective, we can begin to see that the trials, while painful, are not simply negative events without meaning. On the contrary, they are producing something glorious and far beyond comparison. Finally, note that Paul’s focus is not on what is seen, but what is unseen. This is absolutely critical for finding God’s help and power in trials. We tend to focus only on the problems before us—the things we can see. If we would learn instead to focus on the unseen: our loving Savior, His eternal promises, and our home in heaven, we will find comfort and power from the Lord to overcome our trials.
Are you beginning to lose heart because of difficulties in your life? May the Lord help us all to focus on the inner man, the eternal weight of glory that trials can produce, and the unseen, eternal things of God.
Leave a Comment » | 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, discouragement, hope, mindset, renewal, suffering | Tagged: eternal weight of glory, hope in discouragement, hope in suffering, looking at the unseen | Permalink
Posted by Scott Colvin
February 14, 2023
There is a beautiful story told in Luke chapter 7 of a woman whose life was deeply touched by Jesus. She was a sinner. Everyone knew it. When this woman heard that Jesus was visiting the home of Simon the Pharisee, she came to meet him there. She brought with her a jar of expensive perfume, so expensive in fact, that it probably cost an entire year’s wages. She came into the house, kneeled down at Jesus’ feet, and began to weep. She wept so profusely that Jesus’ feet became wet with her tears, which she dried with her hair as she anointed his feet with the perfume. What an outpouring of love and adoration! What a sight this must have been to those reclining at the table! Simon was disgusted with this whole scene and said to himself, “Doesn’t Jesus know what a sinner this woman is?”
Jesus used this moment to teach Simon a powerful lesson about forgiveness and love. Jesus said to him, “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47 NAS95) This is a lesson that we need to take to heart. Love is the fruit of forgiveness. This woman’s outpouring of love for Jesus was a direct result of the forgiveness she had received. She knew what a sinner she was. She knew her great need for forgiveness, and she knew what a tremendous debt had been canceled. This deeply touched her heart. Her lavish acts of adoration and service for Jesus—the One who brought her such grace and forgiveness—flowed freely from her innermost being.
On the other hand, the one who is forgiven little loves little. We see this truth played out in Simon’s heart, and it can play out in our hearts, too. When we don’t realize our great need for forgiveness, or haven’t received it, or haven’t come to realize or appreciate the forgiveness we have, there will be little love for God or for others.
What about you and me? When is the last time you fell down at Jesus’ feet and wept with joy? When is the last time your heart has been touched by His forgiveness? Shouldn’t His grace cause us to worship, adore, and serve Him? But when there is little desire to worship Him or serve Him, what has gone wrong? Perhaps we, like Simon, haven’t realized our great need for forgiveness. Perhaps we have forgotten the great debt that God has canceled forever through the cross of Christ.
Love is the fruit of forgiveness. Let us express the depth of our love to God and Christ Jesus on this Lord’s Day.
Leave a Comment » | forgiveness, love, Luke 7:36-50, service, worship | Tagged: He who is forgiven little loves little, Parable of Two Debtors | Permalink
Posted by Scott Colvin
February 4, 2023
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:6 NAS95)
Why do bad things happen to good people? This is an age-old question that mankind has wrestled with for millennia. We might sharpen the question and ask, “Why do bad things happen to God’s people?” If we are children of God, why do bad things happen to us? Why doesn’t God choose to protect us from all the suffering in this life?
This passage shows us that sometimes it is necessary that the people of God face trials. Why would God ever deem suffering necessary? Because trials that come upon us, if we keep looking to the Lord, will cause us to grow in our faith. As Peter says, trials prove our faith. Trials refine and purify our faith just as fire refines gold. When we learn to lean on God through our trials, we will find that we are spiritually strengthened.
There is no doubt that trials can be very painful, and yet here is a powerful picture of joy mingled with pain. The Christians that Peter is writing to are suffering. They are distressed. They are going through fiery trials of suffering for Christ (1 Peter 4:12-13), and yet they simultaneously have a great joy. They are greatly rejoicing even though they are distressed by various trials. What is the source of this joy? It is everything that Peter reminded the saints of in the previous verses. Take a look at 1 Peter 1:3-5. They greatly rejoice, even in trials, because they have been born again to a living hope in Christ. They greatly rejoice, even in trials, because they have an inheritance reserved for them in heaven—an inheritance that is “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away.” They greatly rejoice, even in trials, because they are protected by God through faith for a salvation that will one day be revealed to them.
Yes, it is necessary that we face trials in this life. Are you going through a season of trial right now? Hold on to the Lord! He will never leave you or forsake you! If you will cling to Him in faith and reflect on His promises, even in the midst of suffering He can cause you to “…greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” (1 Peter 1:8b NAS95)
Leave a Comment » | 1 Peter 1:6, 1 Peter 1:8, if necessary, purpose of trials, trials | Permalink
Posted by Russell Holden