“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Believers are far more blessed when they concentrate on the spiritual rather than physical aspects of life.
Concerning endurance, Paul is again our role model. One reason he was able to endure pain and trials was that he knew the physical was far less important and lasting than the spiritual. He realized that our physical bodies are naturally aging and therefore not permanent. He was probably aware of this more than most people because his rigorous ministry with its travel demands hastened his own aging process. And surely he also aged more rapidly than others because of all the physical and emotional persecution he endured from his enemies.
Paul was able to accept physical suffering and aging because he knew his inner man (his spiritual self, his new creation) was being renewed daily (2 Cor. 4:16). It’s not easy for us to follow Paul’s example; yet he urges believers to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Many of the trials and sufferings the Lord brings to us compel us to obey Paul’s words, look away from ourselves, and experience the spiritual growth that is so directly the result of suffering (see 1 Peter 5:10).
God’s Word assures us that He will provide all the strength we need to endure. In closing, consider the prophet’s words:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Suggestions for Prayer
As you go through this day, pray that the Lord would help you focus on the spiritual rather than the physical.
For Further Study
Read Hebrews 11:1-16. What common ingredient allowed those in this passage to look beyond the physical toward the spiritual?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.