Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday Recap: "Comfort"

Life is hard, and we've all got problems. In the midst of our troubles, we all need to find comfort. And all of us know somebody else who needs comfort, so we need to know how to give comfort.

Yesterday at Covenant we looked at 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 and we discovered 3 truths about comfort and 3 things to do if you want to find comfort.

3 Truths: 

  1. (Verse 3) God is the source of all comfort. Not drugs, not alcohol, not food, not sex, not excessive amounts of TV--nor any of the other things we often turn to. 
  2. (Verse 4) God comforts us so that we can comfort others. Every blessing we receive from God is meant to be shared. The more you share, the more you receive. If you're in need of comfort, it may be that the best thing you can do is go out and comfort somebody else. 
  3. (Verses 5-6) God comforts us in our troubles ... but doesn't always remove them.  Paul was about as spiritual as any person who ever lived, and yet he suffered more than most. He promises God's comfort in hard times, but not that God will always spare us from hard times. 
Now, something interesting about the word comfort. The Greek word Paul is using is paraklesis, from the verb parakaleo. The Greek noun for someone who comforts another is paraklete.  (OK, that's not quite the name of the bird pictured above, but it will help you remember it, so let's go with it.)

Paraklete is from the Greek para, meaning along side of, and klete, meaning someone who is called. So to comfort someone is simply to come alongside of them. That's it. You don't have to be a professional. You don't have to have all the answers. You just have to be there. Be present. Enter into their pain. Don't give advice--people in pain often find that off-putting. Just listen.

There's more. This word paraklete is the word Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14-16. Through the Holy Spirit God comes alongside you and gives you the comfort you need to face life's difficulties.

Back to 2 Corinthians. Here are the 3 Things To Do if you want to find comfort: 
  1. (Verses 8-9) Rely on God--not yourself. To rely on God is to put self-sufficiency to death so that God can raise the real you from the dead. It's to say, at the deepest part of your being, "God, I'd be lost without you. I can't do this alone." 
  2. (Verse 10) Remember what God has done ... Look forward to what God will do. Exercise both memory and hope. Call to mind something God has done in your past--maybe an answered prayer or a met need. Then let that spur you to look forward believing that "God did it before, and He can do it again." 
  3. (Verse 11) Ask people to pray for you. Paul the Apostle asked for prayer all the time. There is power and comfort in having "many people" pray for you.
At Covenant you can ask people to pray for you almost instantly by e-mailing Don Davidson at Don will start our e-mail prayer chain.

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