“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day… So we don’t look at the troubles we 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.” -2 Corinthians 4:16, 18
We can fool ourselves. A person can give up and yet still keep going. You do what has to be done. People see you and see nothing different. But inside… inside you have given up, become discouraged, leaking hope… So, how do I move from giving up to never give up? I am promised that The Spirit renews my spirit every day. To not give up I must pay attention to what God is always doing for me, for us – renewing me… daily. How do I do that? How do I see what God is doing in and around me when circumstances look and smell like the bottom of a trash can that has held trash for too long? I am to fix my gaze on to the eternal, rather than the moment, the temporary. Anything I see in my circumstances is temporary; temporary because God will change them, and temporary because of the eternal life I will experience when Jesus comes again. It all comes down to where I fix my gaze. If I fix my gaze on circumstances, then I have focused on my inability to “fix” it. When I fix my gaze on the unseen, I focus on Jesus, His promises, the presently unseen things He is doing. And, ultimately, my gaze is on the eternal.
Father, turn my gaze in the right direction, and give me eyes to catch glimpse of what you are doing in and around me.
Readings: Luke 20, 2 Corinthians 4, 1 John 3, Romans 8
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” -2 Corinthians 10 :4
What “weapons” do I/we instinctively go to when tensions rise? Do we respond in kind with verbal attacks, raising the anti in kind? Do we grin and bear it seething within? Do we begin fantasizing our revenge? Do we prepare a plan of attack to take them down a peg or two? Do we cut them off? Are we simply fighting with the weapons of this world?
Clearly, we choose our weapons -ones of this world or weapons with divine power. The divine power weapons can demolish strongholds, little kingdoms in the lives of others, or our own, or in circumstances around us. But what are these kinds of weapons that demolish strongholds in our own lives and in others? Paul does not define them. He simply states they exist, and that the devoted follower of Jesus relies on weapons with divine power rather than the weapons of this world, of which we are most familiar and often more comfortable.
Let me suggest four possible weapons with divine power. First and foremost is the Presence of Jesus in us by His Spirit. His Presence results in divine power. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psa. 46:1). Without the presence of God in our lives there is no possibility of divine power. Second is Power. The power of Jesus, rather than our own efforts demolish strongholds. Paul prayed the following, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead…” (Eph. 1:18-20). The power that raised Christ available to those who follow him! Third, is prayer. When the disciples could not cast out a demon they asked Jesus why. His answer, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mk. 9:29). There is obviously power in praying to demolish the most entrenched strongholds. And fourth, the promises of God in His Word. When Paul describes the armor for spiritual warfare he specifies one offensive weapon – the Word of God. “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:18).
I have been called to not fight like the world around me. I am called to fight with weapons that have divine power – Presence, Power, Prayer, and Promises
Father, guard my heart and mind from the all to familiar use of the weapons of this world.