"OUR INNER NATURE IS BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY"
This statement by Paul in today’s readings [2 Cor. 4 v.16] really sums up what we aim to achieve by reading portions of God’s word every day. Of course this depends on the spirit with which we read. Many face the challenge each day of finding adequate time to read; and then have little or no time for meditation on what they have read. But it is important to make an effort to do this for it multiplies in our minds the effectiveness of our reading.
In this ever more godless world many have times of difficulty and frustration to face and overcome. Note what Paul says next; “for this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” [v.17]. Nearly all have some positive things in their daily experiences and if we highlight these in our minds they are invaluable in preventing worldly concerns from dominating our thoughts. It is God’s word that helps most of all – but that depends how we read it, how receptive our minds are – what we look for! We try to demonstrate this in the daily thoughts we circulate.
We all experience things which tend to frustrate us, but Paul says, “we do not lose heart” [v.16] and, as we see his list of afflictions, ours are nothing in almost every case! The reason why Paul did not lose heart was because he did not look on “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.” [v.18] Let’s try harder to follow his way of thinking.
We have climbed a few mountains in our younger days and, for much of the time we climbed surrounded by clouds, but then, suddenly there is a break in the clouds and we realise both how much we have climbed, but greater still, we marvel at the vista of the distant scene that suddenly unfolds. Is not progress in the believer’s life like this?
Now Jeremiah is an exception to the general experience of “light affliction” and as we completed reading his Lamentations today we noted his lament; “we get our bread at the peril of our lives …the joy of our hearts has ceased” [5 v.9,15] and we think this could be happening at times to some of our brethren in Iran and in one or two parts of Africa and maybe, even amongst those in Sri Lanka whom the Govt there is trying to force to return to their homeland. For all these, Paul’s words are really full of meaning and it is vital and they know it is vital that their “inner nature is being renewed day by day.” They may sometimes feel somewhat as Paul felt, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair … struck down, but not destroyed” [4 v.8,9] Let us include them in our prayers – sensing how it helps in the renewal of our own inner nature, remembering what we read in ch. 1, v.11.