2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Are you feeling discouraged? While discouragement is a part of life, we don’t have to live with a despondent mindset or downcast emotions as a way of living. We can endure tough times with an expectant hope as we prioritize our spiritual perspective. Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth encourages believers to not “lose heart” (v. 16). This message is for us today, too!
We don’t have to quit, throw in the towel or let discouragement rule our lives. We can overcome trials, tribulations, difficulties, sadness, loss and grief to the degree our spiritual perspective or eyesight has priority over our secular or physical outlook. Salvation brings the wonderful promise of eternity: when we cease to exist on this earth, we have the spend eternity with God in his glory and holiness. However, this does not change the reality that we are physical beings and our bodies are in a perpetual state of decline. With the passage of time, we get older and weaker, but as we age, we can become more vibrant on the inside as we focus each day on the spiritual. Our focus on the spiritual keeps the problems of our physical world from becoming too daunting or dominant.
When you choose to focus on the future (your time to live beyond the physical world) you will be comforted in remembering earth is limited. Pain will be experienced only for a limited time and to a limited degree. The discomfort we have cannot compare to the eternal joy we will enjoy forever. Your focus on the spiritual should mean you spend more time on things of spiritual value instead of focusing on the accumulation of clothes, houses, cars, money and other physical things. Spend your time and energy serving God, knowing His will for your life and serving His kingdom. When you prioritize what’s important to Him, you will find yourself maturing spiritually. Your spiritual growth will change how you perceive the troubles, trials and difficulties in our world. Your commitment to Christ and the spiritual perspective He provides will also give you hope and make room for glory to come.
- Let’s talk about our physical eyesight. Do you or have you ever used glasses or contacts?
- Talk about how the use of external support for eyesight matters in your day-to-day activities?
Let’s Get Personal
- Take a moment to think about what is currently causing you to lose heart? Share your thoughts with your group. If your challenges are more personal in nature, share them with a trusted friend or acknowledge your discouragement by writing about them in a journal.
- Are you prioritizing your spiritual life? How has your commitment or lack of commitment to your spiritual perspective affected how you engage with the hard stuff of life?
- Are you more focused on your spiritual life or your physical life? How do you know? Where do you spend your time and your money? What are you really accumulating?
Take the Next Step
- What one thing can you do this week to focus on the spiritual. How can you prioritize the development and growth of your inner life over the external?
- What one thing can you do this week to decrease your focus on the physical? What time are you spending on the cares of this world that would be better spent focusing on the spiritual?
- Want to dig deeper? Take a look at the following passages: John 5:7; 16:33; Romans 8:17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 5:1-9; 12:10; Colossians 3:1-3; James 4:14; 1 Peter 1:20; 4:14-16; 5:10; 1 John 2:15-17.
Renew Your Mind
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day.”
2 Corinthians 4:16