What do you do when you are discouraged? Recently, I felt down right bummed. Circumstances, relationship conflict, expectations of others, failings, my own unmet expectations, etc. piled on me. So, I took some time and downloaded a bunch of new-to-me sermons. It has helped in the past, so I gave it a try.
Well, I found that I was focusing on myself again (anyone sensing a theme in my life?). I was pointed to Christ.
What this sermon gave me:
“Me time” Ok, who has heard, you need some “me time”? For a homeschooling mom that has a hard working farmer husband and a baby attached at the hip 24/7, this is almost impossible in the current definition of the phrase. So, for my sanity I just redefine it and adjust my cultural thinking and enjoy my reality. “Me time” for me: Love the Lord with the moments (yes minute moments) I’ve been given by being still, praying, giving thanks, singing, reading, things that help me calm down and enjoy life.
The word. 2 Corinthians 4:7, “7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair…” Did you see that? The power belongs to God, not us. Christ is all. Jahill illustrates this profoundly with testimony to what Christ did in the lives of a few men through a love-filled, gospel centered response to persecution. Oh that I could be bold and love in such a beautiful way.
Right focus. When I focus on me, I feel the weight of affliction or persecution as the passage (and the sermon) goes on to say. I was focusing on that which was in front of me, on circumstances and momentary troubles not on that which is “beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Help thinking. A good sermon points me to the word and helps me dig deeper. I started thinking about Colossians 3, especially verse 2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” I then looked at all of Colossians 3 and saw how it points at other points of my life (my relationships, my failings, etc).
Remembrance. “Christ is all” was a theme at Jubilee Church for a time when we first started. Getting into this passage helped me remember past teaching, songs, even friends and other things to be thankful for. Yes, I miss my city church, but am thankful for new relationships at my country church.
Thankfulness. In trying to get past me comes thankfulness to the God who gives all good and perfect gifts. The joy dare is a great resource to help with this.
Forgiveness. Verse 13, “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love…” Why is forgiveness so hard? And even over the simplest of things sometimes. Lord help me to more readily forgive.