Proper Perspective Produces Endurance (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Life is hard. Things happen that we can’t control and don’t understand. Maintaining our Christian testimony for Christ’s sake is fraught with temptations, set-backs, willful disobedience, discouragements, misunderstandings, and persecutions. Being in community with and serving alongside other believers can be draining, difficult, demanding, and disheartening. Health issues humble and humiliate us as they expose and accentuate our weaknesses. And certain trials seem to stretch us beyond even our most rooted breaking point.
As Paul addresses common issues faced by believers in the church at Corinth, he acknowledges the fact that discouraging circumstances are normal, but having proper perspective is the only way to overcome the discouragement itself.
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 states:
“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.”
Age and infirmity, physical limitations and decreased stamina – these are all inescapable consequences of time; but they don’t have to and shouldn’t define our perspective.
Rather, we should constantly be reminding ourselves that the most important, impactful, and lasting changes are the ones that occur on the inside.
More so than that, we need to understand that change will occur whether or not we pay attention to it. You will either grow and mature in Christ – through the reading of the Word and sincere prayer, or you will grow in the direction of any of the sinful bents to which our sinful hearts are so easily inclined: bitterness, anger, contentiousness, unkindness, laziness, doubt, cruelty toward others, the list goes on and on.
If we are not actively seeking to grow and mature in the things of the Lord – by understanding that what we think, feel, and believe has eternal ramifications, not just temporal ones, then we will, by default, be growing in that which is approved only by Satan himself.
So, yes, life is hard. Trials aren’t fun. Challenges are, well, challenging. But what are they when we view them in light of the Cross? What are they when we choose to view them through the lens of sanctificion rather than inconvenience. What are they when we see in them that which is ever-faithful: the perfect and perfectly timed will of God?
How do we overcome hardship? How do we break free from the bonds of doubt and discouragement? By renewing our minds day by day in the refreshing Truth of God’s revealed Word and by learning how to pray effectively so that our petitions may be acceptable to the Lord.
There is no hurt too big for God to remedy, no pain too deep for God to heal, nothing so broken God can’t make it whole.
Trust Him. Sincerely surrender it to Him. Refuse to cling to it. instead, replace it with the Truths of Scripture. Meditate on what God’s Word is teaching you as often as you can. Purposefully apply those truths with fervor and dedication. In this way, and only in this way, will you pursue a proper perspective that renews your spirit day by day.
Until Next Time My Friends,
The Taylor of All Trades