Even when the spirit is full of strong love, the flesh is often too weak to carry out the will of the spirit. It needs to be trained. So we have to build into our daily lives a training regimen that progressively makes the flesh our servant.
We can’t live lives of self-indulgence and still get all the benefits of self-denial. Spiritual strength comes at a price. There is no quick-fix you can figure out that will let you have an easy life and still get the results of spiritual discipline.
We often focus on the passing pleasures and fleeting accomplishments of this world. But majoring in minors always turns out to be a losing proposition. No one can reach for “profit” in this world and not be disappointed at how unprofitable it is.
What is the point of this “vain” life? Solomon summed it up: “Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Any way you translate it, the point is basic: only in reverence and obedience to God can we accomplish anything.
It would be a great tragedy if we set our hearts on having (and never letting go of) any of the temporary blessings of God and lost out on all the permanent joys we could have had. Let’s not lose eternity by hanging on to what we have in this life.
Even if we aren’t suffering sickness, sorrow, or distress, we should still be able to say what the Psalmist said: “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning — yes, more than those who watch for the morning.”
Few are the human beings who do not crave security. We all want to be sure that we’ll have what we need. But in truth, there is no security in this world. Only in the God who made the world is there any confidence that our needs will be provided.
God’s “lovingkindness” is no mere sentimental feeling — it is His covenant faithfulness and redemptive power. Having promised, in effect, never to harm us, His lovingkindness is the quality that keeps Him from breaking that promise.
Real hope is the kind that rests in God’s power, wisdom, and goodness even when, from our vantage point, we can see no desirable outcome of the problem. It is the assurance of God’s trustworthiness, no matter what happens.
God knows more about our needs than we do. And when our hearts are broken by the pain and emptiness of some need that must, for the time being, remain unfulfilled, our hearts do not hurt half as much as He hurts on our behalf.