Today is a special devotional because of the leap year and we will be looking at 2 Corinthians 4:1-18. As a test I have included a new audio version – you will see the link above. I hope soon to get some better equipment and make my devotionals available daily as a podcast also. Let me know if you what you think and if you would be interested in a podcast version.
C.H. Spurgeon wrote that “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
The apostle Paul often wrote about perseverance. He urged believers not to tire of following Christ and doing good, even when persecuted. The reason was that in time, their faithfulness to plant seeds would produce an amazing harvest.
If anyone had a right to say that, it was Paul. He’d been beaten, stoned, whipped, and driven out of town. He’d survived riots, shipwrecks, illness, and abandonment. He had a thousand reasons to be disheartened and want to give up, yet he knew his obedience to God wasn’t in vain. Some might surmise, Well, it doesn’t look as if he reaped much: he was persecuted, moved from prison to prison, and eventually executed. But if we assume that rewards come only in material terms, we miss a powerful truth.
Consider the awesome harvest that actually resulted from the apostle’s faithfulness. For one thing, the gospel spread across the Roman Empire, and the early church grew far beyond the Jewish world. And the seeds Paul planted by writing his epistles resulted in billions of lives being radically changed. Any strength we draw from these letters is fruit of the hardships he endured. Yet when he urged believers never to tire of obeying the Lord, he didn’t know the full extent of the impact his life would have. He just believed in the power of faith. In His infinite wisdom, God allows trials in order to develop perseverance in us and to cause us to fix our hopes on the glory that is yet to be revealed… Our faith and perseverance can grow only under the pain of trial.
Do you realize how impactful your life is? Don’t be deceived by Satan’s lie that your suffering or obedience will amount to nothing. Here’s the truth: Your faithfulness to God never goes to waste–it’s making an eternal difference in someone’s life, whether you know it or not.
One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved.