What a nice quiet morning! This morning I let Marianne sleep in, and I got up with the little ones. Throughout the week, Marianne is so faithful to get up, get the ‘Littles’ fed, dressed and off to school. She gives me the extra 15-30 minutes to sleep before I get up and take the ‘Bigs’ to school. I fixed the ‘Littles’ some oatmeal and toast, got their waters, gave them their vitamins, and then after breakfast read them a story from their picture bible (Do not suffer the little children to come to me). Even though the ‘Littles’ still have colds, they are so upbeat and pleasure to spend the morning with.
7 However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. 8 We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair. 9 We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed. 10 Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies. 11 For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death. 12 Thus death is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] life [may be actively at work] in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 [AMP]
I know this passage above is longer than normal, but it conveys a particular message that is not easily split into pieces. Remember from yesterday that God said, “Let the light shine out of the darkness” and Paul saying that God has given us the “light of knowledge” of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus. What Paul is now admitting, is that this light of knowledge has been put in vessels of weakness to bear it. Because we are earthen vessels, it is obvious that the power and greatness that come from our message is not from us but from the Almighty God of creation.
This passage also talks about the immortality of our spiritual selves; that we can be hedged in from all sides by the oppression of what we face here on earth but we [our spiritual security] cannot be crushed. Our minds can be confused and embarrassed, but our hearts remain strong and not driven to despair. He goes on to say that we can even be pursued, persecuted, and struck down but we are not alone, and our spirit is never snuffed out or destroyed.
What is crazy is that then Paul likens our condition to that of Jesus and being susceptible to the death of the cross, a liability and potential to being put to death yet God pulls us through this adversity and emulates the resurrection of Jesus as we subject ourselves to these risks yet endure. On the one hand Paul is daily subject to forces which lead to death, but on the other he is continually upheld, caused to triumph, and made to be more than a conqueror by the experience of the risen life of Jesus in his mortal body.
Daily exposure to forces leading to death is Paul’s experience but accompanying that is a continual manifestation of the life of Jesus in the apostle, here not only to sustain him, but to work through him, bringing life to others.
Jesus came to this earth to live a human life [although a perfect one], be subject to the ridicule/persecution of this world, give himself in death, and then ultimately rose again to be forever in our hearts through the Holy Spirit and physically in Heaven at the right hand of the Throne of the Father interceding for us.
So, I need to think of this applied to my life. I should live in the way Jesus did, doing what needed to be done (teaching the gospel and growing God’s Kingdom) even though the risks are always present, and the dangers of persecution are always there. At the same time having an internal peace and confidence that either the Lord will resurrect me out of the situation or that if I should die proclaiming the Son the God, I will assuredly rise and return with Jesus when He comes back to claim the earth for Himself.
Simply put – My confidence is in the immortality of my Spirit which is secure in the hands of the Almighty God, Lord of lords, and King of kings. My work is in the proclamation of the gospel and the life of Jesus Christ my Savior no matter the earthly risk since my security is beyond the capability of this world to remove/destroy it.