July 29, 2015
READ: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
We never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day (v.16).
When missionary Adoniram Judson entered Burma (Myanmar) in July 1813, he found an unreached people in a hostile land. Today, there are some 3,700 congregations who trace their origin to Judson’s pioneering ministry. His primary legacy, however, is the complete translation of the Bible into Burmese—still in use today. Judson’s path was difficult, for he faced opposition, rejection, imprisonment, serious illness, pain. He also lost two wives and seven children to death. But through it all he persevered for the cause of Christ.
The apostle Paul also endured great suffering. He was “pressed on every side by troubles”, “hunted down” and “knocked down” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). He lived “in the face of death” (v.12). As we read his travels, we see his overwhelming difficulties and life threatening dangers are well documented (11:23-27). Despite the suffering, however, Paul wrote, “We never give up” (4:1,16).
Describing our lives as “clay jars”, Paul acknowledged his own frailty, vulnerability and mortality (v.7). But he also refused to be defeated, for he chose to see his difficulties from God’s perspective. “Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. . . . So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. . . . The things we cannot see will last forever” (vv.17-18).
365-day-plan: John 8:1-20
What encouragement do 1 Corinthians 15:58 and Hebrews 6:10-12 give to those who are on the verge of giving up?
What has it cost you to remain faithful to Jesus? How do the examples of Adoniram Judson and Paul the apostle encourage you to live for Him today?