Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Keep your focus on Jesus!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)

Paul concluded that the Corinthians should not lose heart, because God would raise them up with Jesus (2 Co 4:14). Here is a great principle. A proper focus on our glorious future with Christ will empower us to endure any kind of trouble. The outward man is the physical body, called in this section “the earthen vessel” (2 Co 4:7), “the body” (2 Co 4:10), “mortal flesh” (2 Co 4:11), “earthly house” (2 Co 5:1), and “tent” (2 Co 5:1).

It is easy to lose heart and quit. We all have faced problems in our relationships or in our work that have caused us to want to think about laying down the tools and walking away. Rather than giving up when persecution wore him down, Paul concentrated on experiencing the inner strength from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Don’t let fatigue, pain, or criticism force you off the job. Renew your commitment to serving Christ. Don’t forsake your eternal reward because of the intensity of today’s pain. Your very weakness allows the resurrection power of Christ to strengthen you moment by moment.

Working means “producing,” or “accomplishing.” Afflictions produce glory. But the glory is out of proportion to the affliction: trials are light and temporary compared to the eternal glory we will receive (see Mark 10:30). Paul’s focus on the future enabled him to properly assess problems and see how small they were compared to their eternal results.

Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) they remind us of Christ’s suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride; (3) they cause us to look beyond this brief life; (4) they prove our faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. See your troubles as opportunities!

Look means “to keep one’s eye on,” “to consider,” or “to contemplate.” The noun form of this verb means “goal” (for example, in Phil. 3:14). In order not to lose heart, the believer needs to shift his or her focus from that which is seen to that which is not seen, from temporary problems to the glorious eternal rewards he or she will receive (Phil. 3:17).

Our ultimate hope when we are experiencing terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is – there is life after death! Knowing that we will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help us live above the pain that we face in this life.

Father God, it is my prayer that whatever happens to me in this world, whether good or bad, that I always keep my eye’s and faith on Your Son and my Lord Christ Jesus. Lord continue to search my heart and rid me of any pride or jealousy that will hinder me from drawing close to You. Lord, I live only for You and give You all the glory that You so rightly deserve. Thank you Lord for taking my place on the cross and dying for me so I can have eternal life in Heaven with You and my Holy and Almighty God. Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful write,enjoyed the read very much.


Angie said...

It's very true that it's so easy to get discouraged. Thanks for an uplifting post.

Shoshi said...

What a wonderful post. "Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us..." - Lloyd, this paragraph in particular touched me. Since becoming chronically ill I have had no end of trouble from Christians pressurising me to "get healed" and almost blaming me for remaining ill! One prayed over me to be healed from this "sickness of the soul" (i.e. he believed it was "all in my head" despite evidence to the contrary - really insulting!!) and another asked whether I was harbouring unforgiveness in my life, preventing me from getting healed despite all her prayers for me, and yet another said I was ill because I had a demon!

There is a real problem in the modern charismatic church which seems to believe that as Christians, we are all entitled by right to perfect health, and the absence of all problems. Nowhere in Scripture can I find any mandate for setting up "healing ministries." Yes, of course, God in His sovereign will does heal people, but generally speaking there are as many sick Christians as there are non-Christians, and like unblievers, we may all have our teeth filled, wear glasses, get cancer, have heart attacks and die - this is the common lot of humanity in a fallen, flawed, sin-filled world.

Their obsession with healing denies them the incredible riches of growing in the Lord through our suffering, and the opportunity it gives us to witness our faith in Him to others.

It is so refreshing to read what you have written. May I pleas quote this particular paragraph on my blog, with a link to this page?

Thank you for blessing me today.

Yours in Christ,

Antique ART Garden said...

Great post, we all lose heart and forget He is there to carry us and give us strength, thanks ! Gina

j3k said...

Thanks for visiting my blog :) Your writings are amazing. I will definetly be reading more often!!!!

Karen Lange said...

God is faithful, and always in our tomorrows.

Lloyd said...

Shoshi, please feel free to use any material on my blog to bring glory to our Lord and Savior. The majority of my study material come from the NKJV Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible.

I have to admit, that after reading your comments, it sort of reminded me of Job’s friends who felt that he needed to repent and his wife telling him to just curse God and die. Of course we know that bad things also happen in the lives of God’s children just as much as bad things happening in the lives of the Devils children. The big difference is that we believers have the blessed assurance of eternal life. God’s blessings too you. Lloyd

MTJ said...

Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for sharing this post. My focus is to be steadfast (consistent) in my life as a Christian; that's my goal.

Without the grace and support of Almighty God, my efforts are futile.



Jesson And Rey Ann said...

a very nice post, like it real!

Dean Spencer said...

Lloyd -
I think it's harder for Americans to truly understand hardship or problems because we don't understand persecution. It's hard for us to relate probably because we're the wealthiest nation. At least I still think we are. Nonetheless, because of all our conveniences, Americans look to our own abilities, wealth, or whatever. We have access to healthcare, grocery stores, etc. Americans have it made. We even have freedom of speech and freedom of religion, for now. So afflictions have to come from elsewhere, like trials with health or poor circumstances. Unfortunately, many don't see a need for a Savior. Kind of like the rich young man and the whole "eye of a needle" thing.

Shoshi -
Certainly people who are poor or sick have no reason to shrink back in their faith. I feel bad that any believer would make you feel that way. I'm sorry. I totally agree with everything you said.

Thandi said...

I like the line 'See your troubles as opportunities' Thank you for another thought-provoking post.

Manoel José de Santana(Manoel Limoeiro) said...

Thanks friend for me then I'm also following you, and passing on your Blog. Congratulations on your labor with God. Cheers from Brazil by Manoel Limoeiro

Becca's Dirt said...

Lloyd it is so nice to meet you. Thank you for the kind comment on my 'health' blog. It is hard sometimes to take care of our bodies and exercise and eat healthy. I am trying again to enter that realm of taking better care of myself in every way. Your blog is a blessing and I am looking forward to your future posts. I am a christian but have not been where I need to be in our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for me.

Have a nice day. Becca

Shoshi said...

Thank you, Lloyd and Dean, for your reponses to my comment! I hadn't made the connection with Job! Yes, it is indeed sad that fellow believers should come out with such things. Until one is in this situation, one doesn't often realise how shallow and insensitive such comments can appear... I often direct people to the writings of Joni Earickson Tada who has spent all her adult life as a quadriplegic - her immature, childish faith at the time of her accident has been honed into something really fine, and a wonderfully powerful witness and lasting legacy for all. If God had healed her this would not have happened.

I hope and pray that the Lord will use me in my situation to reach out to others and show His glory and His love, and to help other believers to see that the mystery of suffering has much to teach us all.


techranger said...

Thanks Lloyd for all your introspective posts. I have been more busy than usual... VBS at church and a mini personal retreat but I do check in when I can.

Take care and God bless!

Prayz Him Today said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.
I enjoyed looking over yours, and appreciate the encouragement to hang on. Lot's going on right now, and I always remind myself it doesn't matter what it LOOKS like or how we feel.
He is Ever Faithful.

One Heart said...

Great post as usual and a very timely word for me. All I've been hearing lately is "Don't give up." This is simply further confirmation. God knows I need to hear it.

Thank you so much my friend.

Sarah said...

Thanks for your prayers and add! I especially enjoyed this post as I know this was for me. God bless you!

Kirsti said...

All the best to you and your family here midsummer celebration in the middle.this is very good.God be with you and His peace!

Sonny Davis said...

"Renewed"...what a beautiful word and an even greater experience.

Thanks Lloyd

A Busy Single Mom said...

Thanks for an excellent post! We all need this encouragement. Thank you for your nice comments!

Lou said...

Love this post!

Thank you so much for visiting Saved by Grace and for your comment. I like your blog, I'm a follower now!

Have a great week!-- Lou

DeanO said...

Well write Brother Lloyd and a great read. Thanks for taking the time and effort to post.

Philip Robinson said...

Great words of encouragement Lloyd. It is in our weakness that God's strength can show itself. I love the Christian who doesn't push to the top table, but walks the humble walk rather than talks the "I've worked it all out" talk.

alessandra said...

Thank you Lloyd for your visit and your nice words :)

Carol Mae said...

Thanks so much for your uplifting post. And also thank you for becomming a follower and the nice comments you made. Blessings to you and your family, Carol Mae

Dew of Hermon said...

Right on Lloyd, our heavenly view is what makes our transient strife tolerable.Thank God for Jesus who tasted the full measure of our travail there upon that cross,

PJ said...

Thank you for visiting and adding yourself as one of my (Christ's Blogs) readers. I say Christ's blog because when I started this I told the friend who got me interested that I didn't want to do it. It seemed silly to just write about family life for all to see, (I enjoy reading about others). A few days later, a thought came into my head. I have always wanted to be a witness to people, since I developed my relationship with Christ, but I get nervous and tongue-tied. I feel like this blog was God's idea. Ergo, Christ's Blog. OK, now that that's explained, I am so thankful that I FINALLY (12 years ago) moved my "house from the sinking sand to the Rock". I was a hit and miss Christian before then floating from one church or another with months or years in between. Then I met a couple who showed me what a relationship with Christ meant. They were Oneness Pentecostal and I have been also ever since. I have a beautiful relationship with my Savior. I was reading Soshi's comment earlier and in a lot of ways I agree. God said He would be with us through our trials and tribulations. He never said we wouldn't have them just because we believed in Him. He promised us healing (by His stripes we ARE healed, but He didn't say in this world or the next. Can you imagine this world if He healed everyone all the time? Talk about population explosion! Anyway, I loved your blog and will definitely be following you as well!

God Bless!


Dineen A. Miller said...

Amen! Love this post, Lloyd. God spoke almost the same words to me a while ago, "there is purpose in your pain." Sometimes it's not easy, but I trust this, that God does not allow purposeless suffering. He wastes nothing and redeems everything. I know that now more firmly than ever after seeing what God has done in the last two years of intense trials that we've gone through. God bless you!

xelle_miRana said...

Amen.So truE..GOD BLESS..:)

Living On The Edge w/James said...

Appreciate this post Lloyd.

If we keep our focus on Christ many of us will arrive to our destiny much faster.