Today’s post centers on 2 Corinthians 4: 7-9:
- But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
- we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
- persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed
There’s a lot here.
For starters, the “treasure” that Paul is talking about is the ministry of the Gospel, the sharing of it with unbelievers, and the encouragement by it with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
The “earthen vessels” are us. Our bodies, our time on this earth, our finite human existence. Though the mystery of God’s eternal, redemptive plan is far beyond the comprehension of our limited capacity to grasp it, God still allows us to glorify Him by being the “vessel” through which His plan is carried out.
As we continually surrender to the Will of the Lord and obey His command to live our the Gospel message in our everyday lives, we manifest His power to others. Everything we say, think, do, and feel is a reflection of God’s power and we affirm – both with our words and action – that we can claim to glory for ourselves in the process. The power at work is God’s, not our own.
The next two verses are a comfort to anyone undergoing trial or persecution. Life, in general, is not easy. Add to that the fact that God has chosen to call us His own, and it gets harrier still.
The Christian life is marked by all of the normal struggles of human existence, relationships, professions, finances, children, etc., but it has an additional set of trials as well – the plethora of moral and ethical considerations that dictate the way we handle all of those things.
Our standard, of course, is Scripture. But, as we are well aware, not everyone appreciated God’s perspective. Not everyone loves Him. Not everyone loves those who love Him. And, very often, Believers suffer because of Him.
This, my friends, is a blessed place to be. For with every trial is given an even greater grace:
- Afflicted, but not crushed – No matter how we are hurting (physically, mentally, spiritually, relationally, emotionally), there is not hurt too great that God can’t or won’t save us from being crushed under the weight of it. The God we serve is strong enough to shield us from the crushing pressure of every kind of trial in existence.
- Perplexed, but not disappearing – Our understanding is finite. We cannot see the future nor understand the whole of God’s design for our life and the lives of others. Natural as it may come for us to question God’s design, never ought we to despair over it. Never are we to doubt God or rage against that which He has, in His perfect sovereignty, deemed best for us. We may not understand God’s will, but we must not ever doubt it.
- Persecuted, but not forsaken – Though the men of this age hate you, hurt you, beat you, berate you, lie about you, ruin you, or even kill you, the only Being that matters most is the one Who will NEVER forsake you. However dire your circumstances are, you are never alone. However insurmountable the task, God will empower you to complete it. However broken the situation, God is mighty enough to make it whole. Whatever evil man devises against you, the God of your salvation will never turn His back on you. Your peace and vindication rest safely and securely in the hand of God, and so do you.
- Struck down, but not destroyed – The worst any man can do in this life is kill you, and yet, he can’t even do that without God’s say so. The God of Heaven and Earth, the Mighty Creator of all things, is the keeper of your body and soul. And even when the time comes for your body to be sustained on this earth no longer, if your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, your soul is preserved by God for all eternity. No man can ever kill your soul. And, if you are His, God will never forsake it.
In the midst of a trial? Don’t worry, God’s strength will keep you from being crushed.
Struggling with not understanding God’s plan for your life? Don’t worry, resting in the truth of God’s sovereignty will keep you from disappearing.
Persecuted by evil men? Don’t worry, the only Being that truly matters loves you will the love of ages and He will never forsake you.
Wounded, broken, and dying? Don’t worry, if you are a child of God, your soul is preserved in mighty hand of God for all eternity.
Worried you might not be a child of God? Wondering if these promises apply to you? Don’t worry! The Gospel is freely available to all who seek it. If you would like to become a child of God, but don’t know where to begin, please take a look at this great resource from Dr. David Jeremiah and feel free to contact me with ANY questions you might have after you have done so:
Walking Down the “Romans Road” to Salvation . . . .
Because of our sin, we are separated from God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The Penalty for our sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)
To receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I’m like everyone else – I can’t make it through life on my own. I’m imperfect. I’m prone to sin. I have come to realize that there’s nothing in the world I can do to make myself acceptable to You. But I know that You have loved me so much that You were willing to submit to the cross and die on my behalf. That’s a grace so amazing I cannot understand it; I can only accept it. And I do. I accept Your free gift, and I know that from this moment on, I am saved. I am a child of God. And I give the rest of my life to serving You and experiencing the joy that only You can offer. Fill me now, dear Lord, and raise me to walk in the newness of life. I thank You and praise You! Amen.
Now that you are a “new creation” in Jesus Christ, the road ahead will be full of life-changing experiences. Growing in knowledge and understanding of the Bible and your Christian walk with God is essential for your spiritual growth.
Here are some ways that you can grow as a Christian:
Study the Bible.
The Bible will guide you through life and answer life’s questions.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
God desires to meet your needs! Make prayer a part of your daily life.
So He said to them, “When you pray, say: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11:2-4)
Be part of a local church.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
Fellowship with other Christians.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24, 25)
Baptism identifies you with Christ.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:35-40)
Share your faith with others.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:8)
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
If you would like to part of a local church, but don’t know how to find one, IFCA International (Independent Fundamental Churches of American) is a great resource to use. Just take a look at their “Find a Church” database and input your location information into their search menu.
And, again, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions – there’s nothing I love more than talking about my Savior!
Until Next Time My Friends,
The Taylor of All Trades