Renewed! – Part 1
“For this reason, we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 GNT)
A lot of us hide discouragement. In the midst of it, we won't talk about it most times. Someone could come up to us and say, “God is good!” and we’d smile and answer back, “All the time”; but inside we could really be saying, “This is hard!” We could battle discouragement because of a son or daughter who has departed from the ways of the Lord or because of financial pressure or disappointment in ourselves or disillusionment with others. We’ve all faced that, haven’t we, no matter our age or background? In the New Testament, the word sometimes used for discouraged is disheartened. When we get discouraged, we get down, we lose our vitality, and even our faith is affected.
This theme of discouragement is discussed very openly in the Bible. We know that many heroes of the faith battled it at one time or another in their lives. How amazing it is, then, to read the words of the apostle Paul, saying, “For this reason, we never become discouraged [emphasis added].” Really, Paul? Never? What is this about? Was Paul spared a lot of the heartache we all go through as human beings? On the contrary, earlier in the chapter, he writes about the things he went through as he went around preaching the gospel: “We are often troubled, but not crushed…there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.” Paul was shipwrecked, put in prison, beaten, left alone by people who had promised to be there for him; yet he talked about the possibility of never becoming discouraged.
Don’t you want to learn that secret of being victorious over discouragement every single day? Because when we become discouraged, it affects our marriages, our children, other relationships. It also keeps us from being all that God wants us to be; if we’re discouraged, feeling that we can’t make it ourselves, how are we going to help someone else? So Paul’s secret is one we all have to learn.
First, Paul acknowledged a dichotomy to human life. He spoke of an outer person, which is our physical body, along with our mind and emotions. That outer person is like a clay pot that can give in to stress and strain and the aging process. Even our minds and nerves, if they’re stretched too much, can snap like a rubber band. Thank God, however, that there is another part of us—the inner or spiritual part of us, the heart, where God lives. That part, Paul says, is being renewed day after day. Renewal doesn’t mean to make a little better so there’s not too much sagging. No, it means being made completely efficient and strong and full of energy. He says, “Why don’t I lose heart? Because inside, God makes me just as if I had just gotten saved. He energizes me and he builds up my faith. Every day I can have that happen. That’s what keeps me going.”
To be continued…
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-16.