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Best of Daily Reflections: Do Not Lose Heart

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:13 - 5:1

The city of Berea, Greece, is mentioned in Acts 17 as the place where Paul and Silas sought refuge after rough treatment in Thessaloniki. Today, a small park in Berea is home to a statue of the Apostle Paul. One tradition describes Paul as a short, bowlegged man with a high-pitched voice. Thankfully, the artist who sculpted this representation of Paul paid no attention to tradition. This version of Paul towers overhead. I’m six feet six inches tall, and I barely made it to his waist. I wish you could see the look on Paul’s face gazing down on the people passing by. It is burdened yet determined, compassionate yet cheerful. He clutches an enormous book. Remember, there was no Bible in Paul’s day—at least no New Testament. As much as anyone else, Paul would be responsible for writing the New Testament. With Paul towering overhead, I stood there for a photo. I think I’ll have it framed. I owe such a debt to Paul for making Jesus known to the world and to me.

Consider these verses from 2 Corinthians where Paul writes about a phenomenon known to all aging people—the distinction between our outer nature and our inner nature as we age. People who follow Jesus find that despite the contractions of the aging body, the inner spiritual world is constantly expanding.

Corrie Ten Boom was the only member of her family to survive the Nazi war camps. Gradually she came to realize the necessity of forgiveness. She wrote fifty-four books. Years before the collapse of the old Soviet Union, when being a Christian included significant persecution, Corrie visited a woman whose body was so distorted by multiple sclerosis she had control of only one finger. She was an expert language translator, so every morning her husband propped her up at the ancient typewriter where she would spend the day translating the great Christian books into languages people could understand—peck … peck … peck. Because she had translated several of Corrie’s books, Corrie went there simply to kiss that one typing finger. It grieved her that God had not healed this woman, but her husband explained that because everyone knew of her crippled condition the officials paid no attention to her. She was the only person in the city who could do that work.

Corrie Ten Boom wrote of this woman in her book Tramp for the Lord. She included this little verse,

When she enters the beautiful city
And the saved all around appear
Many people around her will tell her
It was you that invited me here.

This old woman may have been confined to her couch, but her world was not small. The Apostle Paul was short and bowlegged, but his world was not small. Jesus was nailed to a cross, but his world was not small. The size of a person’s life is measured inwardly. How big is your world?

BIBLE PASSAGE:

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—"I believed, and so I spoke"—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What factors make a person’s world small? In what ways have you found that following Jesus enlarges your world? What are the characteristics of a world that is truly expanding?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, in theory I like the idea of an expanding inner nature, but entering this world in reality always involves suffering. Suffering is not my strong suit. Wean me from my addiction to comfort, control, and consumption so that whatever happens to me outwardly, you will renew me inwardly every day. Amen.

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