so we do not lose heart. though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. [2 corinthians 4:16]


does your inner life depend on your external circumstances?


there is a big difference between scriptural happiness and joy: happiness comes when circumstances make it; joy comes from the Lord no matter the circumstances. joy is not a fake kind of “happiness” while we and/or those around us suffer, a kind of “cheap optimism”—rather, it could be summed up by this statement: so we do not lose heart. 

joy from the Lord helps us persevere under persecution and suffering, and the ultimate joy is the joy that our Creator, though he knew every evil deed and thought we would ever do and have, decided to crush his Son—so he could be with us. that’s how much our God loves us! insofar as we live in remembrance of that, the Spirit will give us a joy that, though we lament and cry and suffer loss in this life, we will not lose heart. even when our outer selves waste away, we are being renewed internally by the Holy Spirit’s redeeming work!

no matter how much we suffer, the Spirit reminds us that we’re still given less than we deserve, and the only one who truly deserved better chose to bear God’s wrath for our sins; and in the end he will have his way, restoring all things to himself. 


Lord Jesus, forgive me for forgetting the ultimate joy bought by your suffering, thinking “i deserve better.” remind me anew every day the joy of the cross, and may that make me bold and humble; teach me to persevere in thankfulness that you died for me—to be with me.


~ stephen hall