Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Devotional - Losing Heart

Good morning everyone. Almost 7 am and it is already 20 degrees (Celsius). It is going to prove to be a very humid week. We are moving on to 2 Corinthians 4.

Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. v. 1

I will be honest with you; yesterday was not the best day of my life. I am becoming increasingly aware of my own limitations due to my failings. This on top of several things yesterday had me questioning what I am doing with my calling. Then, this morning, I read this verse. Yesterday I was speaking to you about the privilege we have to bear the glory of God through the Spirit in us. Then this morning I read the "Therefore". Because of this, Paul says, and because we have it by God's mercy, we do not lose heart. We do not lose heart. Allow me to type that again because it makes me feel good; We do not lose heart.

So why don't we lose heart? Because we did not deserve to bear his glory in the first place. It has nothing to do with our compentency, or our worthiness, or our ability, or our intelligence, or our appearance. It all comes down to the the fact:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. (John 15:16)

The fruit he refers to is the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, forgiveness, etc. I do not produce these things because I cannot produce. I am only a branch that bears what is produced for me to bear. No, the Spirit in me produces these things so that I can bear them in order for others to taste them. When I show kindness to others they are eating from the fruit of the Spirit. It is the same when I forgive and so on. I am not capable of these things but the Spirit in me is. I am the light bearer, the glory bearer, the fruit bearer. I was chosen for this. So understanding this I do not lose heart. But it means there are other truths that come with this calling, responsibility:

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. v. 2

What we are must be plainly seen by others. We cannot pretend to be something we are not. We can't trick people into believing. We can't make promises about the truth that are not true. We can't tell somebody if they accept Jesus all their troubles will disappear or that they will become rich or that they will have everything they have always wanted. We cannot pretend to be perfect or try to hide our blemishes; the gospel is more powerful in the light of our honest imperfections. We cannot distort the Word of God to try to win people over. As Paul exhorted us to do, let us put the truth out there plainly so it can be plainly understood. But remember the truth of the condition of this world so you will not lose heart:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. vs. 3-4

We keep condemning the world. Let's leave that off. The only ones Jesus ever went after were the ones who were responsible for teaching because they weren't fulfilling their responsibility. Jesus taught the love of the Father. It is in this teaching that the Spirit convicted the heart. People repented because they wanted to experience the loving forgiveness of the Father. People cannot see because the monster of this world has blinded everyone. We walk among the blind, bearing the glory of God and the fruit of the Spirit. Let them taste of the fruit since they cannot see the gospel. And let's make sure we do not get in the way:

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. v. 5

It is not about what we accomplish, it is about God's glory; it is about the good news that the Father wants everyone to be saved from the darkness. We are ministers of this gospel. A servant does not draw attention to himself but works hard so the master of the house will receive the glory. That is our place. We are not the stars; our Lord Jesus Christ must remain the center of attention or we have failed as servants.

If you have any doubts or fears or worries or anxieties or trouble or hardships that would cause you to lose heart then realize this:

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. v. 6

Remember your testimony. Remember what Jesus has done and how it has transformed your life. Remember how you were called and how none of this is about you and how it is all about God's glory. Remember your responsibility to bear fruit so the blind can taste and see. Tomorrow we will continue this important part of our understanding of the gospel as Paul will continue concerning our weakness as bearers of God's glory and God's strength.

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