April 23, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Losing the Battle, Win the War”

2 Corinthians 2:14

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

As someone who grew up playing sports all her life, I have naturally taken on quite the competitive spirit.  And for all those who, like me, are competitive, we share one thing in common: We hate losing! Losing cuts our pride, ruins our days, and often leads us to fixate on what we could have done differently. Simply put, losing never feels good.  The apostle Paul, on the other hand, had a completely different perspective about losing. To him, losing meant that the victor, Jesus Christ, would have all the honor and glory.

In this verse, Paul talks about being a captive in Christ’s triumphal procession. In those times, Roman generals would have these triumphal processions (a.k.a. parades), to celebrate the victory over their enemies.  Typically, a Roman general would lead his troops along with their captives (prisoners of war) in a triumphant march through the crowd as they honored the general that led them through the battle. The captives would ultimately be led to their deaths as a sign of complete and utter defeat.  Paul, in his humility considered himself, a captive, a slave to Christ, knowing that in the presence of the Messiah King, all he could do was to surrender and give all the glory and honor to the one who deserves it most.

Part of the reason many of us hate losing is because WE want the glory. We want to celebrate that we are amazing, that we conquerors, that we have the power and control to reign over our lives.   But the apostle Paul reminds us to take that stance of humility. It is not us who are amazing, awesome, and wonderful; it is the victor, Christ Himself. Only He alone deserves that glory and honor.  So, with that reminder, we gladly bow down and lose the battle to Him, surrendering ourselves as captives of Christ, so that through Him and Him alone may we win the war!

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me that I often look to glorify myself and my own accomplishments.  I pray that You will keep me humble in all that I do and remind me every day who is King. Thank You, Jesus, for being our general and leading us to victory!  May my life reflect Christ in me, daily giving You all the praise, glory and honor!

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 7


Lunch Break Study

Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-13: What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Questions to Consider

  1. Prior to this passage, the Preacher writes a list of vanities of life.  What’s his point? Or in the words of the author, “What do workers gain from their toil?”
  2. What does the author mean when he says, He has “set eternity in the human heart?”
  3. What posture are we to take in light of all that God has given to us?

Notes

  1. Both the good things and the bad things in this life are a blessing from the Lord. They are beautiful in its time.  But to pursue these things alone is meaningless. The Preacher helps us to fix our eyes on what is eternal and lasting, not what is temporary.
  2. Because the vanities of life do not give us true fulfilment, it eventually leads us to despair and there’s a deep longing within us for something more.  We are made for the eternal, so that void can only be satisfied through Christ alone, who gives us eternal life. He has placed that in our hearts, but we also lack the understanding and wisdom to fully comprehend the magnitude of all that He’s done.
  3. God does it so that people will fear him.

Evening Reflection

Who is King in your life? As we consider our lives, even in the smallest of things, have we sought to glorify our own name or are we persistent to give all the glory to the one and true King? Are we chasing the things that are temporary or the things that are eternal?

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