Beyond the Gloom… Behold the Glory! 2 Corinthians 4:16-18Why We Should Not Lose Heart?
Introduction Most of the dictionaries give the meaning of “lose heart” as “get discouraged” or “give up”. To lose heart is to lose our courage or lose the will to go on. It means to be utterly spiritless and worn out. It is not just discouragement. Its discouragement to the point of quitting the race before it is over.
But what causes a person to lose heart? What makes a person want to give up? Why do we ever entertain fantasies of running away? What causes us to have little enthusiasm for what we once found very motivating? What should be our perspective in life and how should we deal with what we see, with what we hear, and with what we feel?
THREE WONDERFUL TRUTHSWHY WE SHOULD NOT LOSE HEART
Truth No. 1 VALUE THE INNER MAN OVER THE OUTER MAN (v. 16)
I. Value the Inner Man Over the Outer Man. (v. 16) Paul’s death-like trials made for more effective, life giving ministry for Corinthian Christians “Therefore, we do not lose heart”, Paul began the chapter (2 Corinthians 4:1) by declaring ”since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” Take note that in chapter 4, Paul describes all the death-like sufferings he has to endure in the ministry.
I. Value the Inner Man Over the Outer Man. (v. 16) Paul’s sufferings take a charge on the outward man, yet the inward man is being renewed and blessed The phrase outward man has the same idea as earthen vessels in 2 Corinthians 4:7 and mortal flesh in 2 Corinthians 4:11.
Our Response• Understand the nature, the purpose, and the glory of the ministry "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.“ (Luke 15:10)
Truth No. 2 Value the Eternal Glory Over Momentary Troubles (v. 16)
II. Value the Eternal Glory Over Momentary Troubles (v. 16) Our afflictions are light and not heavy • "Our PRESENT light (burden of) affliction" (Mt 11:30), • "The lightness of affliction" (he does not express "burden" after "light"; the Greek is "the light of affliction") contrasts beautifully with the "weight of the glory.“ • So, when Paul writes our light affliction, we can know what God intended to convey to us, it means our light affliction. If Paul could say his affliction was light, then what is ours?
II. Value the Eternal Glory Over Momentary Troubles (v. 16) Our afflictions are just momentary • "now for a season . . . in heaviness" (1Pe 1:6). • One word that we should take notice is the word eternal. This stands in contrast with the affliction that is for a moment • The one is momentary, transient; so short, even in the longest life, that it may be said to be an instant; the other has no limits to its duration. It is literally everlasting.
II. Value the Eternal Glory Over Momentary Troubles (v. 16) Our affliction is the very process which creates glory • a far more exceeding and--rather, "in a surpassing and still more surpassing manner“ and more exceedingly" • Greek, "in excess and to excess." • The Scriptures are clear: if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:17). • The glory exceeds beyond all measure the affliction.
But how do afflictions achieve glory? Afflictions help us see and understand what this world really is. Is not perfect and everything here are temporary. This insight leads us to look for the perfect and permanent. It is only in this kind of thinking or attitude that we can begin to see the eternal glory of Christ.
Our response: Consider afflictions as opportunities Our troubles should not diminish our faith nor disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our afflictions. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) they remind us of Christs 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. So why not see your troubles as opportunities!
Truth No. 3Value the Future Over the Present (v. 18)
III. Value the Future Over the Present (v. 18) Look at the things which are not seen When we look at the things which are seen, all we see is our light affliction, and it doesn’t look very light then! But when we look at the things which are not seen, then we see and appreciate the eternal weight of glory.
III. Value the Future Over the Present (v. 18) Look at the things which are not seen Christians should set their affection "on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2). "While we 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" (2 Cor. 4:18)
III. Value the Future Over the Present (v. 18) Remember that God’s presence always restores us and makes us strong “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.” ( 1 Peter 5:10) There are things that we should realize about why we need to value the future. First, God is the God of all grace which means that God is sufficient. Second, God is the One who cares for you which means that you are the object of His affection and, Thirdly, after you’ve suffered a little while, I believe that your situation will change.
Our response Trust God’s Word and look at the future glory Our minds take the level of the things on which our thoughts dwell, and if we think upon earthly things, we shall fail to see of that which is heavenly. We would be greatly benefited by contemplating the mercy, goodness, and love of God; but we sustain great loss by dwelling upon those things which are earthly and temporal. We allow sorrow and care and perplexity to attract our minds to earth, and we magnify a molehill into a mountain.
Our response Trust God’s Word and look at the future glory "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful" (Mk. 4:19). We are warned that "the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever" (1 Jn. 2:17). "heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Matthew 24:35)
Conclusion While it is our duty to seek for perfection in outward things, it should ever be kept in mind that this aim is not to be made supreme. It must be held subordinate to higher interests. Remember that what is seen and transitory are just momentary. God values the unseen and eternal. What is seen is of worth only as it expresses the eternal.
According to one writer, “Temporal things are not to engage our whole attention, or engross our minds until our thoughts are entirely of the earth and the earthly. We are to train, discipline, and educate the mind so that we may think in a heavenly channel, that we may dwell on things unseen and eternal, which will be discerned by spiritual vision. It is by seeing Him who is invisible that we may obtain strength of mind and vigor of spirit.” (BC1099-1100)
Remember this: The reason why we lose heart is because we tie our hope to the wrong things. What are you waiting for? To what have you tied your hope? Psalm 27:14 says, "Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”