WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28
SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 4
The Christian life is supposed to be a challenging life. It is a blessed life. It is the only true life. But it is, nevertheless, supposed to be challenging, even difficult at time. As American Christians we haven’t experience much of that – yet.
One of the reasons the Christian life is supposed to be challenging is the battle within us that happens not only at salvation but also every day of our saved lives on this earth. There is always an inward struggle over our sin, over right and wrong, over serving or demanding to be served. Another reason the Christina life is supposed to be challenging is this earth is not our home. In fact, we are supposed to operate as ambassadors in a foreign land. And at some point, if we are living out our Christian faith, that will create conflict in an increasing anti-Christian culture.
That is much of what Paul is writing about in this chapter. In fact, in verse one he speaks of “not losing heart”. He speaks of not giving up, of not quitting, or not walking away from it all. For Paul to speak of not losing heart points us to the distinct possibility that such a thought had actually crossed his mind. When you look at what he wrote in verses 8-9, you can begin to understand why it would have been easier for Paul to walk away from it all.
It would have been easier. But it would not have been better. Because Paul was committed to the Gospel and to the ministry that God had given him, he would not quit. Because Paul knew that the joy and reward of living the Christian life far outweighed anything this world had to offer him, he could not quit.
Instead he was committed to the simple, profound and powerful truth of the Gospel. As he says in verse 2, he did not add anything to it, take anything from it, or try to make it into a more socially acceptable message. Instead he stayed true to the message of Truth.
In verses 3-4, Paul reminds us that those who are perishing – those who are lost and headed for hell – have had their minds blinded to the Gospel by Satan. In other words, they can neither see it clearly nor understand it completely. Satan does this in an attempt to keep them lost. But as verse 5 indicates the solution to this is faithful Christ followers proclaiming the Good News.
As we preach, teach, and share the Good News those who have been blinded to it will have the ability to see it – to understand it. It is at that moment that they can be saved. But unless we are willing to share the Gospel, those who are lost will never know about this glorious message of grace.
In verse 7, Paul speaks of having this treasure in clay jars. The treasure he is speaking of is the Gospel. The clay jars that he speaks of are our human bodies. In the era that Paul was writing, people used clay jars for lots of things. They stored things in them. They hauled stuff in them. The only thing that gave clay jars any value was what was kept inside of them.
And so it is with us. Our human bodies are literally clay jars. We are made from the dirt of this earth and eventually our physical bodies will return to that dirt. But it is what we carry inside of us that makes us valuable. Those of us that are saved carry not only the Holy Spirit in us but also the light of the Gospel of Jesus.
Anytime we get jostled around or knocked around or have holes knocked in us (verse 8), the light of the Gospel of Jesus spills out for all to see. Even in our trials and tribulations, the light that is within us shines through.