Summary: Others, Compassion, Ministry


2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (p. 803) January 4, 2015


It takes somewhere between 2 and 8 months to develop a new behavior. At least that’s what Phillip Lally and his team of researchers concluded at University College in London. 96 people were studied over 12 weeks as to whether they did the new habit they’d chosen and whether it felt automatic or not. The average to develop a new habit was 66 days.

Let me show you a simple test about habits (cross your look down...which one is on top...for me it’s my left don’t change it...put the other arm on top...Hard to do huh? Feels weird huh?) But if you did it over and over again for 66 would feel more natural.

Most of what we do comes from how we think and feel...this applies to everyone...regardless of your personality....It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or extrovert...whether you’re Eeyore or Tigger.

Who you are, the real depth of your soul...your real personality, has been shaped by God. You cannot, nor should you really want to change your personality. It’s a gift made and shaped by God even while you were in the womb. Psalm 139 says, “You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (v. 13)

But attitudes are different...attitudes are habits. They are things we develop over time. They are things we chose through our thoughts and feelings.

(And you might think “yeah well I know people who always have the same attitude...and it’s “mean, selfish, hurtful.”

And I’ll say “yeah it’s been developed over a’s become their default setting...a habit...because I also know people who are “loving, gracious and compassionate.” It’s their default setting – a habit.

Attitudes are chosen...otherwise God would not ask us to choose the right one after our new birth. Listen to Philippians 2:5. It says “In your relationship with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Mindset = Attitude. “In your relationships with others have the same attitude as Jesus.”

That’s the attitude that will change your life more than any other. It’s the attitude of a servant. It’s the mindset that focuses on this truth, “My life was made for ministry.” As a follower of Christ I will seek to serve others.


Paul the Apostle knows about comfort and He knows about trouble, by the way you can’t experience comfort unless you’re uncomfortable.

Paul doesn’t put on a mask and say, “Oh I’m fine, everything is “hunky dory.” In fact he becomes transparent with his pain. He wants for people who love him to know the truth. This isn’t a pity party for sympathy. It’s a revealing of true pain.

“We don’t want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great was something beyond our ability to handle or fix...We felt like we could fact we really could have.”

He describes his trouble as “deadly peril.”

This life threatening event happened in Ephesus...but Paul doesn’t go into detail. He doesn’t exaggerate. He’s not a one upper...“ think you’ve been through trouble. Let me tell you about what happened to me!”

People who have really suffered don’t usually want to talk about it a lot. That’s probably why we don’t specifically know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh really was.

Paul made no parade out of his pain...but he used it for 2 Godly purposes.

One, it drove him closer to God and taught him better dependence on God.

The Arab’s have a proverb that says, “All sunshine makes a desert.”

The danger with ease and prosperity is that it encourages a false independence, it makes us think we can handle life on our own.

For every 1 prayer that goes up to God thanking Him in prosperity, 10,000 rise up in adversity.

Abraham Lincoln said, “I have often been driven to my knees in prayer because I had nowhere else to go.” He also said, “It is often in misfortune that a man finds out who his true friends are, and it often needs some time of adversity to show us how much we need God.”

The outcome of Paul’s troubles was he had an unshakeable confidence in God... “The Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.”

Troubles happen in a Christian’s life so, as Paul says, “we choose to rely on God and not ourselves.” (v.9) He has delivered us from this deadly peril...and He’ll do it again!!!” (v. 10)

And the 2nd purpose he chose to focus on was, “I’ve got to comfort others in trouble with the same comfort I’ve received from God.”

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