Thursday, August 16, 2007

How To Not Lose Heart

We've been having a great sermon series this summer on the "Tools of the Trade" of being a follower of Jesus. It's been very practical and we've been focusing not only on the motivation for things like prayer and reading the Bible, but also on how to do it.

Last week's really seemed to strike a (good) nerve with a lot of our people, so I thought it deserved a blog entry.

It was about How To Not Lose Heart. (You can listen to it here.)
We talked about what losing heart feels like, how to recognize it in our lives, and how the Bible tells us to persevere and remain faithful. The passage we studied was the first six verses of 2 Corinthians 4. Later on in that same chapter, Paul gives even more reason not to lose heart:

“We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

You might think that with such a phrase like “light and momentary affliction”, Paul is being glib or overly simplistic about pain and struggles. But Paul went through far more than we probably ever will. He’s not ignoring the depths of affliction, he’s saying that compared to eternity, they’re not nearly as stressful as we think.

Paul says our problem is not one of circumstances; our problem is one of focus. We lose heart when we start looking at the wrong things. We look at the pain instead of the cure. We look at the gloom of today instead of the hope of tomorrow. Most importantly, we look at the sorrows of this life instead of the joys of the next one.

Every day, we are being renewed; we are being improved. Isn’t that an awesome thought? God uses hard times in our lives to prepare us for the future. When we’re in the midst of the pain, we don’t want to hear about the future because we can’t see it. But that’s Paul’s point: what we see isn’t ultimately real; it’s transient. What we hope for is what we can’t see: the true reality of glory beyond all comparison.

So don’t lose heart!

Some practical steps mentioned in the message that will help:
ELEVATE your prayer life
EXPECT Biblical things
EVALUATE the right things
EMPHASIZE the positive things
ENDURE the hard things
ENJOY the small things


At 8/16/2007 4:10 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Yes, good word. Isn't it true God not only uses our hard times, He allows them so we may remember our on going need for Him in our lives. It's only as we are 'broken' that he can use us. Often it's in those tough times that we become the most useful for His purposes! Thanks for the encouragement to keep on keeping on Pastor!


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