2 Corinthians 4:16-18 16 Therefore we <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28876A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28876B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>inner man is <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28876C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>being renewed day by day.17 For momentary, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28877D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28878E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>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.
Failure is a reality in life because we are a fallen people. But, failure is not an end, but an opportunity to do better the next time. Too many times we stop our progress when we don’t have a very successful result from what we are attempting. The apostle Paul, of all people , knew about failure, but his heart was always looking at the eternal. Since his perspective was that way, he continued to be energized inwardly. Through beatings, persecution, lies, deceit by enemies, and misunderstandings by those who listened to him at times Paul kept his shoulder to the wheel. He knew that the present affliction at the time was only temporal and that the message still needed to be shared and Christ be glorified in his life. Even though his body had taken a toil with all of his travels for Jesus, he knew that inwardly his faith was growing more and more each day.
Paul gives us a great example of Godly intensity that cannot be slowed or stopped by temporal setbacks. May our lives be lined up with the same attitude Paul had keep us moving forward in our faith. When Paul writes to the church at Corinth about the inner man He speaks from experience and his continued growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ supersedes all human reasoning in the are of commitment. To continue to believe and strive in the midst of struggles and failures is a point of growth for any believer and turning the negative into a positive is a sign of ongoing growth and strength.
A football coach gave this advice on how to deal with failures. “When you’re about to be run out of town, get out in front and make it look like you’re heading a parade.”
Perspective is an amazing thing. The continued sold out life to Jesus is the life that is inwardly growing closer to Christ in all things. Jesus said in Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The question is “How do we develop that kind of attitude and faith in the midst of failure?
1. Remove yourself from the picture. Too many times I take things way to personal when God is the one who is in control and working out His plan, even through my failures. My pride causes me to think poorly of myself because of the result of my efforts when God is directing the circumstances for His will and way. I must remove myself from the “result part” of the whole things and leave it in God’s hands. The same thing applies when people insult us for sharing the message of Christ. It is HIS message, not ours. God will have His way if we will just be faithful to share the way to eternal life. To look at it in that way is a sure sign of spiritual growth in serving.
2. Realize what plans God has for you in the circumstances you are going through. It would probably be good to consult with God about what He is trying to show through the things that are going wrong at this point of your life. There is always a lesson and God is the great, loving, instructing teacher we desperately need to learn from in all things. We begin a process where we see less of us and more of God in handling these life challenges. In John 3:30 we see John the Baptist make a move all of us need to consider making as a matter of personal growth. The verse says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”t II always thought “Wow, good job John. Let Jesus take his earthly ministry to the next level by getting out of the way.” That was not the end of truth. That must be seen in me as well. I must realize that God has a plan for my life and that plan is for Jesus to be seen more and more in my life, and less of me to be seen so His ministry can be realized through me. In the 2 Corinthians scripture Paul’s words of admonition to the church ring true for each us today. As we approach the return of Jesus Christ, we are promised more affliction if we stand for Him and our inner life will need to be much stronger if we are to handle the persecution that will surely come. HE must increase in my inner life and I must decrease in my inner life, so that my outward life, even though it is fading away will not be in vain. So, all of the struggles should not cause us to drift further away from Christ, but draw us closer to Him as we get to know Him better in our inner self. Hebrews 12:5 says, “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him.” God directing our steps should be received as an honor and not a curse when He calls us sons and daughters and fulfills His promise to direct our steps in all ways. We truly must rely on God to take all of the events of our lives and continue to direct our ways toward thinking and living as He wants us to. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. That is the path I want to be on and stay on.
Oh Lord direct my steps and teach me to walk with You in every area of my life.
The Pilgrimage continues….