On November 14th, 2008, I awoke to a house on fire. A contractor working on the home we built cut a corner on the fireplace. He was supposed to install a triple lined stainless steel pipe, but he only did so until he reached the attic. The result was a fire that burned almost everything we had accumulated over thirty years of marriage. My wife and I stood there and watched it all burn. Rather than focus on all we lost, together we made a conscious decision to fill our minds with all God had given us and continually praise Him for these things. This gave us victory.
Just because we know the Lord Jesus as Savior doesn’t mean He is going to spare us trials and hardships. Even the great Apostle Paul’s life was filled with problems. He said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed…perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus…” (II Corinthians 6:4-10). Paul tells us he was beaten five different times with “forty stripes save one, thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned.” He was also shipwrecked, in constant peril and “in weariness and pain” (II Corinthians 11:23-27). Such a list makes most of us wonder how he could remain faithful and keep from being crushed under the weight of discouragement.
The answer is found in II Corinthians 4:16-18. His victory began with being continually in God’s Word so “…the inward man is renewed day by day” (vs. 16). Then, being spiritually strengthened by the power of the Scriptures, he made a conscious decision to look at every trial from a proper perspective. He chose to view all the negative things that had happened to him as only “light affliction, which is but for a moment” (vs. 17a). He didn’t magnify the hurt. He minimized it, remembering that, in light of eternity, it only lasted a short while and his faithfulness through it all would bring him eternal reward. Finally, he did not constantly dwell on his trials. He chose to “…look not at the things which are seen…but at the things which are…eternal” (vs. 18). His victory was a matter of proper focus.
You too can have victory even when severe trial comes your way. But, it will depend on what you choose to focus on. Focus on God, His Word, and eternity.
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