I don't have a life verse. I'm not really one to even pick a particular verse or passage for any given year or season in life. But this year, man. This year has been a kicker. In responding to God's difficult providences, and in response to our preaching series through 2 Corinthians, my mind has kept returning to one verse. This verse has anchored my heart, given voice to my prayers, laid a foundation for my preaching, and helped me encourage others:
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:9
In no certain order, and with the hope that it might be of some help to you, here are some of the deep things God's Spirit has used this verse to teach me:
- God's goal is my faith, not my comfort.
- God's purpose in trials is the production of faith.
- If faith saves and trials produce faith, then trials are a qualitative good from the hand of my Father.
- Faith must be more than assent. Faith must be reliance.
- I can rely on God or myself. But not both.
- I can rely on myself or on God. But not both.
- God's promise is never that we wouldn't suffer or even die. His promise is that He will raise those who die in Christ.
- Of all the things that Paul might have written after "God, who...", he focused on God's history of raising the dead. I need to do the same.
- Jesus' resurrection can never be too important to me.
- My own resurrection is guaranteed, but do I believe that guarantee?
- In my conversion, I have already experienced God's resurrection power. Why, then, should I doubt that power?
- Weakness and trials are a design feature of Christians and the church. Stop trying to make it otherwise.
- Stop encouraging people with vague wishes things will improve. Start encouraging with the power and goodness of God, who raises the dead.
- Prayer is the chief act of relying. Worship and rest follow on its heels.