That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT
In every challenge, we are provided with a choice . . . believe in the process or be burdened with the problem.
There’s an old adage attributed to Coach Knute Rockne, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
The daily grind often produces a debilitating grief. But, those who endure will engage . . . the promise of everlasting hope gives us everyday help.
The apostle writes, “. . . And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” (2 Cor 4:15 NLT) Paul provides roadsigns to guide us on this potential and promising journey.
Our Resolve. “That is why we never give up.” Paul’s conviction is to never concede. Often, our defeat is birthed in our denial that the Divine will deliver us. Don’t give up. Franklin D. Roosevelt says, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” The apostle reminds us, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chron 15:7 NIV) Perseverance with purpose from above is powerful.
Our Renewal. Renewal and refreshment lead to our replenishment. These bodies wear down and wear out, yet our minds are made new and our spirits are sustained. Isaiah tells us, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is 40:31 NIV)
Our Reason. In the time frame of eternity, our trials are tiny and temporary. Paul reminds us, “For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (2 Cor 4:17 NET). Any grief is our gain with a result of God’s grace and growing glory. Peter encourages us, “And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Pet 5:10 NET)
Our Recognition. Perspective is the ability to peer into God’s plan and trust in God’s purpose. Paul describes it as recognizing the eternal triumph over the everyday trial. Our seeing impacts our being. Churchill says, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” An eternal optimist sees all opportunities and obstacles from God’s observatory . . . hope and promise from a heavenly perspective.
When you feel like giving up, get up.
When you feel like groaning, be grateful.
When you can’t see with your eyes, see with His.
Allow God’s determination to drive you, deliver you and define you for your good and His glory.
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting The Lord means safety. Proverbs 29:25 NLT
Augustine writes, “Fear is the response of the human heart when it’s one thing is threatened.”
Solomon is credited with being one of the wisest and wealthiest who ever lived. Yet, the threats to his treasured things created terror. He fought his own fears . . . fear of failure, fear of people, fear of loss, fear of loneliness. With insight, Solomon provides a solutionary strategy for the snares that surround us.
There Is Protection In Our Fears. Fear is a subtle snare of our enemy. It traps us with terror that will tear the very fiber of our faith. Solomon finds security and safety in his Sovereign. The psalmist reminds us that trust is the key, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” (Psalms 56:3 NLT) A. B. Simpson writes, “Fear is born of Satan, and if we would only take time to think a moment we would see that everything Satan says is founded upon a falsehood. Every fear is distrust, and trust is the remedy for fear.”
There Is Peace In Our Fears. God calls us to calm. Proverbs reminds us, “But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (Prov 1:33 NLT) England’s most prominent 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon writes, “Whether the fear arise from without or within, from past, present, or future, from temporals, or spirituals, from men or devils, let us maintain faith, and we shall soon recover courage.” God commits His calm and courage in the confusion of our chaos. Jesus tells us, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)
There Is Promise In Our Fears. Paul reminds us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7 NLT). Fear cannot thrive where faith is alive. To survive in our fears, we must surrender to faith. God’s word is true, tested and tried . . . He has not given us fear, but favor. First century disciple John encourages us, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18 NLT) We rest in His promise, in His passion and in His rock-solid, always powerful hands that never let go.
We share the same struggles as Solomon. Learning for his experiences allows us to live in his example. John Bunyan reminds us of our remedy, “Let it rain, let it blow, let it thunder, let it lightning, a Christian must still believe. ‘At what time,’ said the good man, ‘I am afraid, I will trust in thee.'”
Shirley Caesar writes the following encouraging lyrics;
“When the world that I’ve been
Living in collapses at my feet.
And when my life is all tattered and torn.
Though I’m wind-swept, I’ve been battered
I’m gonna cling unto His cross.
I’ll find peace in the midst of the storm.”
“There is peace in the midst of the storm-tossed life.
There is an Anchor, there is a rock to build my faith upon.
Jesus Christ is my vessel so I fear no alarm.
He gives me peace in the midst of the storm.”
Fight your fears with faith and turn your terrors with trust.
He is the Peace in the midst of your storm.
One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
“My dear one, the battle between two ‘wolves’ is inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a moment and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
Jesus reminds us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.” (John 10:10) Two approaches . . . two contributions . . . one negative and one positive. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy . . . all are negative. Jesus comes to give life that is abundantly overflowing . . . all positive.
We all face the “two wolves” . . . good and evil, positive and negative, humility and pride. Two opposing forces in every day of our lives is a reality.
Stressed or blessed?
Obstacles or opportunities?
Fear or faith?
The one that wins depends on the one we feed. Consider 12 ways to feed the positive wolf.
One wolf will kill, steal and destroy. The other wolf will give a full and ever growing life. Which one will you feed?
But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though You have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” . . . Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say. Exodus 4:10, 12 NLT
How many times have we been in Moses’ situation . . . God says “go” and we say “no”.
It’s not because we are disobedient . . . it’s because we are discouraged.
It’s not because we don’t think God can do it . . . it’s because we think God can’t do it through us.
We don’t question His authority, we question our ability.
Moses was promised confidence and content . . . God would be with him and teach him what to say. Yet, Moses still doubted his divine appointment.
Reverend Micheal Beckwith says, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” It’s not uncommon for God to use common cracked pots to do Kingdom work. Those who are the most skilled are usually the least selected.
God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!
He Confirms Our Call. Paul writes, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace” (Eph 4:1-3 NLT) Our call is confirmed when we answer with humble hearts, grateful gentleness and practicing peace. Loving others with our service and unity within the Body of Christ are the evidences of our everyday and eternal efforts.
He Affirms Our Adequacy. God loves taking a rag-tag team and giving them a righteous triumph. Paul reminds the Christ followers in Corinth of God’s recruiting strategy, “But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence.” (1 Cor 1:27-29 NET). We may not bring much to the table, but what we do bring, God blesses and uses.
He Works Through Our Weakness. God’s grace works in our greatest weakness. The apostle Paul experienced this gift of grace, “Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weakness . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:9-10 NLT) Paul reminds the faithful in Philippi, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13 NLT). Our weakness does not allow us to give up, but to give in . . . to God’s promised power and purpose.
We watch several reality programs that take something old, worn out, useless, broken or outdated and make it “new” again. God has been doing the same type of dramatic transformations in the lives of people throughout history . . . taking something useless and making it useful. John Dyer writes, “He recycles the worn out and remakes them to accomplish great tasks for His glory. He repurposes the messed up as He calls them to other purposes for Him and His Kingdom. He reconditions the weary with new energy and a new assignment to do what others would see as impossible. He remodels a life that is worn down through mistakes and rebuilds that person into a valuable vessel in His hands.”
Life can be discouraging, disillusioning and disappointing . . . but, don’t give up on God’s calling. He has sovereignly selected you for service. He will confirm you. He will affirm you. And, He will work through you.
He qualifies the convicted, the compassionate, the contrite and the called. He will qualify you.