March 2nd, 2007
When you decide to follow Jesus, it doesn’t mean that all your problems are over. As Paul said in today’s reading, “We face all sorts of problems, but are not restrained. We have struggles, but not to the point of despair. We are pursued, but not abandoned. We are knocked down, but not destroyed.” It’s as if God is continually reminding us of our human limitations, to stop us becoming conceited about the things which he does in his power through us. We are weak and brittle, like clay jars, but we hold a treasure inside us, and extraordinary power that comes from God and not from ourselves.
Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 4
4:1 Because we have been given this responsibility through God’s mercy, we do not lose our enthusiasm. 4:2 We have renounced shameful secrets, and do not use trickery or adulterate the message of God. We commend ourselves to everybody’s conscience in the sight of God by open demonstration of the truth. 4:3 If our Good News is hidden, it is hidden only to people who are dying, 4:4 in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 4:5 We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. 4:6 God said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” and he has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
4:7 We have this treasure in clay jars, to show that the extraordinary power comes from God, and not from ourselves. 4:8 We face all sorts of problems, but are not restrained. We have struggles, but not to the point of despair. 4:9 We are pursued, but not abandoned. We are knocked down, but not destroyed. 4:10 We always carry in our bodies the death of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of Jesus can also be revealed in our bodies. 4:11 We who live are always being given up to death for Jesus’s sake, so that the life of Jesus can be revealed in our mortal flesh. 4:12 Death works in us, but life in you. 4:13 We have the same spirit of faith as described in the scripture, “I believed, and so I spoke.” We also believe, and so we also speak, 4:14 knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus, and will bring us into his presence with you. 4:15 Everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, can cause an outpouring of gratitude to the glory of God. 4:16 So we do not let our enthusiasm fade. Even though outwardly we are decaying, we are inwardly being renewed day by day. 4:17 Our minor and momentary problems are getting us ready for an unmeasurable eternal weight of glory. 4:18 We do not focus on things which can be seen, but on things which cannot be seen. Things which can be seen are temporary, but things which cannot be seen are eternal.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance