A Reason for Joy
16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as 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.—2 Corinthians 4:16-18
We must recognize why we’re here. “I’m not here for grins. I’m not here for my ego. I’m not here for my pleasure or even for my family. I’m here for God!” If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, the only reason you get to draw another breath is for God.
The life of a true Christian is about displaying the superiority of the life lived in God. The effect of this display does not depend on the sheltered events in that person’s experience. That’s why Christians get cancer. That’s why Christian parents have prodigals. That’s why Christian business people go through bankruptcies. The contrast is deep between how a son or daughter of the kingdom and how a son or daughter of this world handles hard times. Ask a doctor if he or she has witnessed any difference between a Christian parent who runs into the emergency room holding a dying child and a heartbroken happiness-seeker facing the same nightmare. They will tell you the difference is like day and night.
Whatever you are facing as you turn these pages and look for wisdom, right here—in this moment—your situation is your opportunity to shine the light of Christ to those who observe you. You can display the superiority of a life lived in God. Realizing that reality and embracing it with your whole heart allows first a sprinkling of joy and then a stream and finally a downpour to flood your soul.
But you can’t come to that conclusion coping on your own. You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your face with food to dull your pain. You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your mind with entertainment to distract you from that pain. You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your heart with anger to deflect that pain. And you can’t come to the joyful conclusion when you’re filling your body with substance to mask that pain.
Only by considering why you are here, what life is really about, and where you will be going very soon can you consider your trial joy. Paul said, “For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).—James MacDonald
· Who in my life has been the best example of the superiority of a life lived in God?
· How have I expressed to that person the encouraging impact of their example?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as I think about the trials in my life it is
s hard to imagine anyone looking at my struggles and saying I’m an example of the superiority of a life lived in You. Help me not to complicate and mess up Your work with my own efforts to look good. Guide me to simply trust You and let the results speak for themselves to those who need to hear. I can’t determine who You might touch through me, but I want to be a willing servant in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.