Have you known someone who is critically ill and they are physically declining? Yet, in the face of such adversity, the depth of their spiritual life seems to be increasing. How is it that while the physical body and overall health and vitality declines that the inward spirit grows? As humans our physical bodies, the outward man, will deteriorate … there is no question about that. We were created that way by Almighty God. But our spirit, the inward man, was created as eternal. It will last forever. The Apostle Paul in his second letter to the church at Corinth provides an answer. He considered his physical afflictions as momentary, preparing him for the “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (ESV) – 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 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.
As Paul went about preaching and teaching the Good News of the gospel, he was verbally abused, physically persecuted, beaten and even left for dead. Yet his spirit remained strong and continued to increase. Paul knew that the things of this world are “transient” and would soon pass away. But his spirit was increasing and would be everlasting. Thus his focus was ALWAYS on things eternal and on leading more souls to God through Christ Jesus “so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” Now that is purpose!
Heavenly Father, we give You Thanksgiving Praise for providing us eternal hope! Thank You for the assurance that all things earthly are transient but all things heavenly are eternal! Help us to not focus on the trials and tribulations of this world but instead experience the joy of knowing that we will spend an eternity with You! Father, strengthen us as we point others to Jesus so they, too, may not lose heart. In the powerful and loving name of Jesus, Amen and Amen!
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