“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body ….. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18).
If there’s anything that stinks about life on a human level, it’s that when you’re finally smart enough to live this life well, it’s almost over. Isn’t that right? Every day that we pitch our tents on earth is one day’s march closer to eternity. Your body starts to creak in different places …. your hair changes color or location …. you’re not as fast as the younger guys on the basketball court, or can no longer run in heels, much less stand in them …. you notice lines on your face that weren’t there before. Can you relate? Maybe not, but I’m guessing if you’re over 30, then you have at least an inkling of what I’m talking about, and prepare yourself, it’s coming ….
But check this: though it’s true we’re losing ground on the outside, the phenomenal thing about being a follower of Jesus is that we are getting better on the inside!! Praise God!!!
Every human is created with the deep sense that we consist of more than just our physical bodies. There’s an inner part of us that defines our eternal person. As we walk with Christ, daily learning and growing more like Him, that inner person is being changed ~ “renewed day by day” …. There’s great joy in that!
(2 Corinthians 4:10) says that we are being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
You might be wondering, how is Jesus’ life seen in us? Easy…. When our characters are transformed to be more like His character; when we become more loving, humble, selfless, giving, obedient, then He is seen and known in and through us …. And each time our bodies try to tell us we cannot do a thing, and we press through regardless, in spite of the pain, the heartache, or desire to complain; then is Christ made manifest through our bodies, and we become overcomes and partakers in His suffering.
There is nothing we cannot do if Jesus abides with us as scripture confirms “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
And Jesus Himself affirms this in (John 15:5) “for without me ye can do nothing.” His strength and the power of the indwelling Holy Ghost enables us to do remarkable things despite sometimes insurmountable odds. (Philippians 3:10) also describes this process: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”
What Jesus modeled in going to the cross for you and me is the essence of the things that God wants to renew in us. For the most part, these things are unseen because, as (2 Corinthians 4) finishes up: “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (v.18)
Listen, if you’re walking and growing with God, your best years are up ahead. Don’t feel discouraged or sad when your body slows down, or your face shows the wrinkles of a life well lived. God’s process of transformation is faithfully renewing the inside you ~ the eternal you ~ day by day …
In closing; ponder this: in what ways has your “inner self” been noticeably renewed in the last year, despite any outward physical limitations? The next time you’re reminded that your “outer self is wasting away” …. what spiritual blessing will you choose to remember?
Let us pray ~
Lord, thank You for the gift of eternal life that promises not only eternal life after death, but a renewed spirit day by day. Thank You for the security of knowing that You keep Your children and You fulfill every one of Your promises. Protect me where my heart might be discouraged by the aging of my outward person. Cause me instead to be invigorated with the prospect of an inward heart that is being made alive more each day, day by day. Energize these bones by the power of Your Holy Spirit and enable me to continue on and carry out the work that You have for me until its time to come home. All this I ask in the precious name of Jesus. Amen ….