When tempted to discouragement (and for the born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, discouragement is a temptation), we do well to remember that we are not alone in the challenge. "There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man" (I Corinthians 10:13). Many of our brothers and sisters face the same or greater difficulty in the hour of our trial, thus providing to us the opportunity to set forth from the dark harbor of focusing upon ourselves. The light of God calls us to venture forth upon the sea of His devotion to others, seeking their comfort and encouragement through prayer and the offering ourselves to the Lord for whatever benefit we can be to our fellow believers.
"So then death worketh in us, but life in you" (II Corinthians 4:12).
We best know our Heavenly Father's love not when He bestows it upon us, but rather when He bestows it by and through us unto others. Such unselfishness comprises the very nature of His love, which "seeketh not her own" (I Corinthians 13:5). We would thus expect our greatest awareness of God's devotion and affection in accordance with the Savior's declaration, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). It often happens that we realize the wonder of His love as we love, rather than as we are loved. Or, it may be that we are most being loved by our Lord as He graces us with the privileged responsibility to "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God as a sweet-smelling savor" (Ephesian 5:2).
When feeling discouraged leads us to seek the encouragement of others, we can be sure that, like the Lord Jesus, our offering and sacrifice is to God "a sweet-smelling savor." How it must please Him to see His Son so revealed in us, and how it glorifies Him and the power of His others-devoted character, nature, and way. Upward, outward, and away from ourselves provides the Christ-motivated and enabled perspective that glorifies God, blesses others, and provides for us the soul-encouraging reality that bears witness to our own belovedness. This is the way of love, God's love, and it is our way.
"For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake… all things are for your sakes."
(II Corinthians 4:11; 15)
Weekly Memory Verse
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."