In his autobiographical book Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell describes the extreme physical and mental challenges of his Navy SEAL training. The training was punishing and relentless, and of the 180 men of his class, only 30 graduated. His purpose is to explain what it takes to be a Navy SEAL and the reason for their confidence. He states, “Every Navy SEAL is supremely confident, because we are indoctrinated with a belief in victory at all costs, a conviction that no earthly force can withstand our thunderous assault on the battlefield.”
- What gives you hope and perseverance during difficult times?
READ THE WORD: 2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-18 (ESV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 16-18.)
- In verse 16, Paul reiterated that he had not given up in the midst of the sufferings he described in verses 8-9. Why did he not lose heart, and what does this truth imply?
- Substitute Because for For at the beginning of verse 17, and reread verses 16-18. How did Paul characterize his affliction and its impact on him? How does this compare to your view and response to hardships and suffering?
- What did Paul set his mind on in verse 18? By choosing this, what did Paul reject?
- In what ways do these verses prepare us to suffer loss and not lose heart?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul had an eternal perspective; he understood and accepted that suffering was a building block, rather than a roadblock , in his ministry. He was unwilling to give up, and his confidence was unshaken because he knew and had experienced Christ’s strength in him. He also had every confidence in Christ’s resurrection. Like Paul, how we respond to difficulties is a barometer for ourselves and an indicator to others of what we hold to be true. Our challenge is to persevere, knowing that which sustained Paul, Christ’s strength, will also sustain us in the midst of our struggles.
- As you recognize and deal with hardships and difficulties this week, pray that God would give you an eternal perspective and reliance on him.