For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
When the early New Testament church was facing persecution, a number of believers became discouraged in their faith. The Apostle Paul attempted to rally them by reminding them that regardless of what physical hardships they may have to endure, our Lord gives the daily strength to victoriously carry on.
It reminds me of a basic trait of all Military Members. All Military Members fail at one thing; failing. When given a mission, that mission will be accomplished regardless of circumstances. No snivel. No excuses. No compromise. GEN George Patton once said, “Never tell people HOW to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” The military has the training, equipment, support and ingenuity to secure a victory even in the face of unexpected resistance or obstacles. The will to succeed is greater than the temptation to give up.
This is what Paul is trying to get across to the Corinthians. We are in a spiritual war. The lines are drawn. The Christian life is not always going to be easy. We may face severe criticism or ridicule. Our faith may impact our job or social life. In some cases we may face physical persecution. Or on a simpler front, our personal health or that of a loved one may cause us to question the Lordship and power of Jesus Christ. In those situations, Paul tells us to not give in to discouragement. We are to continue in our mission as God has defined it for us. With God’s help we are to persevere to victory.
Gentleman Jim Corbett is the ‘father’ of scientific boxing, and a member of the boxing Hall of Fame. Part of his fame came when in 1894 he defeated another future hall of famer John L. Sullivan in 21 rounds. He was once asked what the secret of his success was. He famously responded with this advice:
“Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round – remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped.”
The Apostle Paul says that we should not be discouraged. Our Lord is with us, and he gives us his strength. We will not fail. We will fight another round.
God of Might and Power, forgive me when I am tempted to surrender, and to ignore your call in my life. Give me the strength to fight one more round. You and I can do this together. Amen.