Paul has shown us in 2 Corinthians 4 how God’s power works in the world. Now he’s going to tell us how to experience that power in our day to day lives. And it all has to do with setting our hearts on God’s glory.
2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
We are called to value spiritual strength over physical strength. Our outer man in the clay pot, our physical bodies. All of our bodies are decaying, but some of us are more aware of this process than others.
Paul states that there is an undeniable connection between the dying of his outer man, and the growth and maturing of his inner man – the heart… the soul that lives forever.
Our inner self is renewed day by day. Renewed means to cause to grow up, changed into a new kind of life.
It’s a paradox but the truth is that when believers are physically weak and at the end of their own resources, they are in the place where they can be made spiritually strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When I’m sick, I just want to be better. Last summer I was just so frustrated. I never once thought to look with anticipation for the spiritual blessings God might be bringing. In all honesty, I was spending too much time trying to figure out what I had done wrong that God would turn his back on me, especially with the ministry year right around the corner.
With few exceptions, in our later years we are going to have more and more moments of physical weakness and distress. We can dread that, or we can have the mindset that while not easy, these years hold the potential to know God’s power in ways we may have never known before.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this light momentary affliction of preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
We are called to value the future over the present. Not only did Paul’s suffering make him spiritually strong, it also enriched his eternal reward.
The Greek word for “light” actually means “quick.” This quick, momentary pressure is producing an eternal weight of glory – the glorious condition of blessedness which is promised for true Christians to enter at the end of this life or when Christ returns.
Do you grasp what this means? There is a direct correlation between the suffering we experience in this life, and the glory/eternal rewards we will receive in the next. This glory is beyond all comparison. In the Greek it is an expression of extremes: immeasurable times infinity.
Romans 8:17-18 says, “We suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
When was the last time you looked at that person who has it made and never has any problems and thought, “How sad! She might have a pretty skimpy crown in heaven!” Okay, that’s a little silly… but we do look at others and wonder, “Why do they have it so good? Why doesn’t God love me like them?”
Ladies… this is the Word of God! Your trials are priceless because they are storing up treasures for you in heaven as you deal with them in ways that honor God. These are not happy, slappy words. This is eternal truth. His power is there for you to do something that will last for eternity – bring glory to God.