Intro: In our passage today, the Apostle Paul basically tells the church at Corinth, “Don’t lose heart and quit!” When we lose heart, we have stopped believing we can be successful; maybe in our relationships, secular work environment, or even in ministry. Things like depression, anxiety, or bitterness stand ready to pounce upon those who are tempted to lose heart. Do you know who actually causes God’s kids to lose heart? Of course you do; evil works to defeat God’s children and demonic forces are focused on devouring faith and suffocating the believer’s joy in serving Christ. Evil celebrates each time a believer forgets “why” he or she lives to serve Christ and steps away. We may want to blame others for our struggles, but most of the time it is our own insecurities that God allows us to feel so we will grow up in His character. Don’t miss this: God tests our motive and commitment in unusual ways, friends! His ways are “far beyond anything you could imagine” (Is 55:8).
What does it take for you to “feel” successful? Kingdom people can be highly successful in God’s eyes, but may feel or look like failures in the eyes of the world. If we understand true success in God’s economy, we will not be so quick to lose heart. Success is obedience to God. It is allowing our lives to be motivated by God’s love and empowered by God’s Spirit to advance His Kingdom in spite of the challenges we face. Sometimes in ministry we think everything God calls us to do should be flourishing and successful; everyone thrilled. Yet, there are times when God cares more about the “why” we do something and he allows us to experience His discipline through conflict or confrontation. Our hearts are the construction zone and what God is doing is not always immediately visible.
I may not be successful reaching every heart when I share a teaching, preach a sermon, or share my devotional time, but if I reach one person and help him or her see God in a truer light and inspire each to know Him better, I have succeeded. Jesus is all about touching one heart at a time and bringing each one to the eternal throne for healing; because, we are ALL broken by sin. Can you say with me, “That’s Truth!” Because of grace, we never fail in God’s economy; we simply grow in our understanding of what is really important to Him—hearts seeking ETERNITY!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Prayer: Lord, renew our spirits each day, so we serve with the right motives. Help us look beyond our present challenges to see you are working in our hearts, helping us evaluate our motives, and bringing grace to align our lives in your will for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.