August 25 -26, 2012
How easy it is to “lose heart.” We have all faced storms and problems in relationships and jobs, or with our finances, dreams and plans. How many times have you thought about quitting … just walking out? Well, in the midst of Paul’s most troublesome times, and he had many, he decided to focus on his inner strength, namely, the Holy Spirit.
Don’t let fatigue, pain, judgment and criticism from others force you off the job. Don’t forsake your eternal reward because of some temporary pain, setback, or temptation. You see, so many people falsely think, “Do the right thing and suffer now … but my reward will be in heaven.” But doing the right thing now provides an immediate benefit to you by renewing your mind right now. That means you are strengthened psychologically, and your brain circuitry actually improves. But most importantly, your relationship with God stays pure and the Holy Spirit, not your flesh, stays on the throne of your heart. Therefore, the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the flesh, is what you will reap – in that very moment! Can any reward surpass that?
Adversity has a purpose. Someone recently wrote to us with a very simple prayer to pray while in the midst of a life storm: “Dear God, please do not let these tears be wasted.” Think of the many benefits of our human limitations and problems. They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us. They keep pride away. They provide the opportunity to look beyond this brief life. They allow us to demonstrate our faith to others. They purify and refine us. They push us to rely on something outside ourselves, as they push us into God’s arms. Moreover, they give God the opportunity to demonstrate His awesome power to us and through us.
Today, think about how complacent and prideful you would be if everything went your way. Then, during a setback or struggle, remember a school assignment, athletic training, or arts preparation you had that was difficult and painful, but that grew and prospered you in the end. Then be thankful for today’s homework or training exercise. Do it with excellence. And be excited that the perfect Teacher and Coach is training you for the greatest reward: The Mind of Christ! Choosing a perspective of adversity or training, and deciding what you do with it, is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I come to you today as a fearful follower. As Paul writes, I do feel as if I am wasting away … most days I feel as if I am losing heart. As I read Your word today, I see where I have been going wrong. I have been looking only at what I can see. And what I can see is only temporary. Father, help me to fix my eyes and heart on what is deeper, for I know that what is deeper is more valuable. Help me to see today’s problems as opportunities, for Your Word has taught me that when I am at my weakest, I really am at my strongest. It is Your strength and power that makes me strong. Father, please do not let today’s troubles diminish my faith in You. Please let my very weakness allow the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to strengthen me moment by moment. I pray in need of and through Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16–18
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. John 13:13
He who teaches man knowledge–the LORD–knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. Psalm 94:10-13