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Winners and Losers – True Success

True SuccessPaul was subjected to extreme misunderstanding, opposition, and persecution. He also struggled with a personal weakness—a “thorn” in the flesh.

But in the midst of these trials he affirmed God’s faithfulness. The Holy Spirit, he claimed, recharged his spiritual batteries so that he could energize others.

Like an athlete, he focused on the eternal finish line instead of on the short-term pain.

Interact with God’s Word:  2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  1. Compare this passage with Romans 15:17-19. Would you say that Paul was success oriented?
  2. What obstacles and setbacks would have tempted Paul to give up and quit (See 2 Corinthians 11:23-28?
  3. Did Paul believe he would have been more effective if he appeared to “have it all together”?
  4. What, according to Paul (vv. 7 & 11) was the upside of being crushed, perplexed, and hunted down?
  5. What (v. 16) provides the strength to get up again and keep going?
  6. What benefits derive from our human limitations and problems? What opportunities do they provide?
  7. Why (vv. 17-18) is being at the end of your rope not the same as being at the end of hope?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to enable you to “bounce back” from failure and latch on to His overcoming power.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, move me beyond the world’s definition of failure and success to the only one that counts—Your definition.



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