The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"A Further Step of Faith"
What does the born again believer do when feeling down and discouraged? Certainly, we turn to our Lord for His encouragement and strengthening.
"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears" (Psalm 18:6).
However, a further step down the road of faith offers itself to hurting hearts that also enables us to arise and walk in God's peace in times of great internal challenge.
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
Our faith began when the sorrows of One made possible the redemption of others. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ now lives in believers to enable the same love to govern our hearts and lives (Romans 5:5). Thus, when hurting, turning to the Lord means we also turn to the needs of others. Regarding the temptation to discouragement, we are never alone in such trial. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (I Corinthians 10:13).
"How can I be of encouragement through Christ to someone else who feels what I am feeling?" How can the comfort I seek from God become the comfort I seek to distribute to others?"
These are not easy questions to ask when we feel personally challenged. Sorrow tempts us to turn inward upon ourselves, the last thing that will be of help. The Spirit of God, conversely, works to turn our attention upward, outward, and away from ourselves unto God and the needs of others. This may not immediately change how we feel. It does, however, reorient the focus of our hearts and prepare us to be a comfort and encouragement to others, again, just as we would expect from a heart filled with the Christ whose suffering became salvation to multitudes. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (I Peter 2:21).
Prayer for others motivated by our own challenges greatly serves the beneficiaries of our requests. We may then also find ourselves granted opportunity to be an encouragement to others in more outward ways as well. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:4). We will find our own hearts well served by such devotion to God and people as His love revealed through us bears even greater power than His love revealed to us. Indeed, the comfort we give becomes the comfort we receive. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). When down, we look Up. But we also look away to the needs of others as our Lord's love leads us to ask, "How can my challenge become comfort to another hurting heart?"
"For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:11-12)
Weekly Memory Verse
The Lord looketh on the heart.
(I Samuel 16:7)