Distressed? Do Not Lose Heart
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
While you may be going through the worst, you are offered His best! In 2 Corinthians chapter 4 the Apostle Paul encourages us to not lose heart by reminding us that in the worst of times God is offering His best.
Let us begin reading at verse seven and as we do, I want you to notice the little phrase he keeps repeating, “so that.” But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED; THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
As mentioned, Paul uses the words “…so that…” 4 times. Paul is using his own experience with adversity as an example of how God is at work. He is telling us how to “move through” adversity and not stay stuck in it. He was acknowledging the trials of life BUT pointing us to higher reality. Although we are afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, Paul teaches us how to “move through” the trials of life and not to stay obsessed with the problems of life.
Paul wants us to consider how the Christian life is a repetitive process of “moving through” the trials and difficulties of life. Why! “So that…” God can do what He wills in our lives. Yes, we have afflictions, perplexities, situations that we think are not fair. We are struck down, slapped around, getting beat up, suffering abuses.
Why you ask? What is the purpose of this? “So that” the life of Jesus might be manifested in our bodies and lives. That the invisible God in us might be visibly manifest to the world around us. To the praise of His Glory. Even the claim that “we have the treasure of the presence of Jesus Christ in us,” in our earthen vessels” (vs. 7), is “so that” the greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves.
This moving through adversity process is Life As God Intended. It is all “so that” God’s grace might spread to more and more people, bringing glory to God. Whenever something goes wrong as it often does, do not blame it on the stress of life or the problems of life or the people within your life, but rather, be encouraged because Christ is your life!
He is present within your moments of chaos, in you and through you and if you will allow Him to live as you! God is glorified when His character is manifest in your life. This is never more visible to those around you, as it is while you are experiencing the adversities of life, allowing Christ to manifest the fruit of His Spirit through you. Love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and the godly control of self. Experiencing the fruit of Christ’s Spirit is the antidote to distress. The opposite of distress is rest, calm, peaceful, quiet, relaxing, and tranquil. This is Life As God Intended in the midst of the storms of life.