Do We Really Believe This?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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.
Do we really believe what we say we believe? How do we endure the hardships of life and grow and bear fruit through those hard times? Are we assured that though our physical bodies change, become incapacitated or extremely limited, our spiritual life in Christ is renewed day by day? Is there a struggle with a debilitating disease and you find yourself getting weaker in body or watching a loved one become very frail?
Paul had a victorious attitude on his suffering when he wrote; “Our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” How can we endure suffering and pain and be content with every situation life brings? Psalms 37:24b says; ...the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. Disappointments will come and despairing moments will flood our minds but God says, “He holds us with His hand.” When we have the immense privilege of knowing Christ, no matter what may come into our lives, we need not loose heart, quit or give in, for we endure and gain strength by renewing the inner man day by day.
Your troubles and trials, along with the pain and difficulties of life are contributors to your inner strength. It is in the trial of your physical life that undoubtably led you to find spiritual strength. You can and will endure not only when you hold in high regard the spiritual over the physical, but you will endure when you value the future over the present. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (I Peter 1:6-9.)
What does eternal weight of glory mean? Will we have a bigger place to live in, in heaven, or the biggest crown ever imagined? No, it means that we will have a greater capacity to praise, worship, serve and give glory to God more than ever before. The only suffering that produces this eternal weight of glory is that suffering which is for Christ’s sake and for that which honors Him. It doesn’t mean for every illness, or pain in life we suffer but the suffering which comes as a result of our Christian life, our witness, our testimony, our faithfulness and commitment to Him that gains the eternal weight of glory. Will there be reward added to that eternal weight of glory for those that suffer the hardships of life, disease, divorce, poverty, pain, loneliness, and death? Yes, with a spirit of gratitude, a spirit that exalt’s and gives glory to God in the midst of the trial. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (I Corinthians 2:9).
The secret to endurance and overcoming the present is to look to the future not the present, to take your eyes off the current pain and look to future glory. To give yourself to the spiritual far above the physical is the pathway to patience and forbearance. Colossians 3:2, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. This is the testimony of a life lived fully to the glory of God and consumed with the invisible and eternal presence of Christ.
Thought: Lord, help each of us to see beyond our pain, and help us to tower over the suffering of this life. May we so live that the pain that comes, or the troubles that arise, will only produce a greater weight of glory, and a passion for Christ.