October 8, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 8 October 2019
"We do not lose heart" is stated twice in 2 Corinthians 4 (vv. 1, 16) indicating that often discouragement is involved as a servant of Christ. Even if someone does not lose heart, the temptation is certainly there at times. What kinds of things cause a believer to lose heart?
Relational tensions are one answer. The Apostle Paul devoted himself to the service of others yet several were allied to someone else. They complained that Paul was bold and brash, full of talk but not actually accomplishing what he said, or that he was an unrefined speaker. Others said he sought money for personal reasons, and others ridiculed him for working a second job. Certainly, such tensions could deflate anyone’s spirit.
The same tensions exist today and dishearten those who seek to serve the will of God. Everyone can relate to this subject if 2 Corinthians 4 is examined from the position of being a servant of God. All who trust in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior are called to serve others, and anyone who ministers to believers and unbelievers can struggle with discouragement when evaluated unfavorably.
How do you keep persevering? Second Corinthians 4 reveals four things to remember when times are discouraging. First, understand that service for Christ is a privilege. Verse 1 refers to being a servant of Christ because of God’s mercy. Though we may have different callings as a servant of God, you and I should be encouraged in times of discouragement by our actions and words as a result of simply recognizing that being a servant of God is a privilege because it is the result of God’s mercy.
Second, service does not concern self rather Christ Jesus is the emphasis (v. 5). Being a servant of God means not being self-motivated, that is, focusing upon our image, reputation, and success. Seek to glorify Christ Jesus as Lord in all your service! “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Pet 5:6).
Third, servants of God must understand they are “earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). God’s servants are functional yet not supposed to be necessarily impressive. The more you look and feel like an earthen vessel, the more you and others will focus upon the inner person and not externals. God allows things to afflict, perplex, persecute, and strike you down because He is conforming you to the image of his Son (vv. 8-11). God wants you to be Christlike in all your actions and words.
Fourth, remember that being a servant of Christ is producing “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (v. 17). Remember that whatever current difficulties are present in your life, which are depleting your resources, and disappointing or discouraging you in the process, remember that it is fleeting, momentary, and transient. At the very time of affliction, God’s servants can be renewed with inner strength because the focus is not upon “things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (v. 18). Eventually, all your perseverance will be worthwhile in the presence of the Lord. Therefore, keep persisting daily “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14)!
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.