Love Deeply

Read:

".  . . he left Athens and went to Corinth." Acts 18:1

Reflect:

Spiritual battles are real. They take a toll on our soul. Whenever we are in a fight for our lives, the reality of the stress of the struggle is both difficult and dangerous. The conflict which comes from doing the will of God is an intense, close-quartered battle in which the opposing forces of the enemy work to destroy our hope and diminish our convictions. Any protracted battle can produce mental fatigue, emotional exhaustion, and physical weariness. 

After a long battle of fiery preaching in front of audiences filled with smug complacency, it had become too much for Paul to bear. Paul arrived in Corinth a disappointed and dejected man.  His soul filled with disturbing questions, “Did the gospel have the power he thought it had?" If it did, "Why did it not stir the most intellectual of his listeners?"  Even for a great thinker such as Paul, the strain of the experience had put Paul in a dispirited mood, which had affected his physical health. 

Painful as it was, it was in the moments of discouragement that Paul learned the power of the cross and began to see it in full relief.

None of us can preach, teach, or speak of the crucified Christ on the cross without having first shared in the suffering. The suffering of a believer is the agony of the one who sees the Lord he loves more than all others, scorned and mocked by the multitudes and ignored by the powerful, while they stand by unable to make others see or feel the love we feel and know so deeply.

One who goes through such gut-wrenching anguish begins to know, in some small way, what the heart of the Father suffers when the lost sons and daughters He sent His son to rescue are totally unaware that God is there, knows them, and sees them, and loves them deeply.  

Respond:

Sit with these thoughts and let them sink into your mind and heart.