When a difficult trial or painful experience disrupts your life, how do you typically handle it? What emotions do you find yourself contending with during these “dark” seasons? Do you believe that following Jesus Christ should result in a generally prosperous and comfortable life here and now? Why or why not?
How has the “outward wasting/wearing away” of the physical world and our physical bodies impacted you personally and emotionally? What does it practically look like to be “renewed inwardly day by day”? What things can we do to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this process of inward renewal?
We often try to help people in the midst of suffering by attempting to minimize the suffering (e.g. “It could be a lot worse!”; “Cheer up, you’re not as bad off as some people!”; “C’mon, it’s not really that bad!”; etc) while the apostle Paul seeks to encourage people by focusing their attention on the “eternal glory” to come. Is the reality of an awesome eternity a real hope in your life? If not, I recommend Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven” to enlarge your anticipation of our true hope.
How much of your attention and focus is devoted to things that are “seen” (e.g. physical body, personal possessions, career, etc) in comparison to what is unseen (your eternal soul, your relationship with God, your eternal destiny)? Any adjustments needed?