After making a start into chapter 4 last week, we will finish the chapter this week. Twice in this chapter, Paul has said, “Therefore…we do not lose heart.” We will look at the second occurrence the week (verse 16), and how it relates to our own way of thinking and where our focus is.
I think you will discover why chapter 4 has encouraged and strengthened so many people for so many years. Sure, it is easy to be encouraged and strong when things are going well. But when you are being bombarded you need a mental framework that keeps you from giving up and becoming hopeless. Do you have one? Paul did!
Even though our culture tells us that money and success and technology and material goods will give us the life we always wanted, we all know that is not true. If it were, then Robin Williams would not have ended his addiction-riddled life in suicide! So why do people keep making the same choices to order their lives around the acquisition and enjoyment of temporary things, hoping it will fulfill? Of course it is not wrong to have things, but to live for them? That’s another story!
People that live for temporary pleasures become “temporary-minded”. The existence is superficial, fickle, and unstable because the life is built on shifting sand. But “eternal life” is not a statement of length, but a statement about a certain “quality” of life. People that live for eternal things become “eternally minded”. The first try to find life in the temporary and lose it altogether, because it is based in the temporary. This group easily becomes discouraged by the pains and pressures of that life.
How do you know what kind of life you are living? How do you know the difference between the temporary and the eternal? How was Paul able to avoid giving up or becoming discouraged?
Listen in as we plunge into the rest of chapter four and see how each of these questions are handled by Pau through the work of the Holy Spirit in this next section.