II Corinthians 1 -- 4
By themselves, earthen vessels (clay pots) are of little value. Their essential value is dependent upon what they hold. If they are filled with gold, their value increases dramatically because of what they contain. The body of a Christian is compared to an ordinary clay pot and the precious treasure it holds is the indwelling Christ (Colossians 1:27). We have this treasure in earthen vessels (II Corinthians 4:7). Because of Christ within us, we are precious to God as dispensers of His life-producing Word. But, no sooner does Paul reveal this glorious truth, than he describes experiences common to all children of God: 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 (4:8-10).
Christ imparts His very life into His followers. God has given us the opportunity to manifest the characteristics of the resurrected Christ over every trial and suffering. God is able to take any seemingly insignificant person who trusts in Jesus Christ and use that person to bring glory to Himself. However, it is not what we do for Christ that matters most, but what we allow Him to do through us. We can face trials and suffering with the confidence that our Lord lovingly provides His best for our eternal good. During times of testing, God imparts love, joy, peace, freedom from fear, and comfort beyond all human ability to explain.
Trials and troubles, in whatever form, are necessary for every Christian's spiritual growth; without them, we would not develop spiritual strength (Acts 14:22; I Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-13). Christ was conscious of His purpose for coming to earth to die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. Just as it was necessary for Him to die, we too must die to self-love and be willing partakers of His sufferings. Paul understood the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy (I Peter 4:12-13).
However, some do not rejoice. Instead, they become bitter because they do not know the Word of God, or because they choose not to obey what it says. Some leave the ministry, others leave the Church, and some have nervous breakdowns -- all because they have failed to recognize that they are partakers of Christ's sufferings. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment (distress of the passing hour), works for us (preparing and achieving) 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 (brief and earthly); but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:17-18).
For II Corinthians 3:13: See Ex. 34:33. II Cor. 4:13: See Psa. 116:10.
Government Official: Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (MI) · BPM Staff: Barbara Ann Bivens · Pray for Wycliffe Bible Translators · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Sterner family adult children who know the Lord · Country: Liechtenstein (28,000) in western Europe · Major languages: German and Alemannic dialect · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice and be thankful that the Word of God is food for your soul (Deuteronomy 8:3).
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