PRODUCT BEATS PACKAGING
May Your light shine into my heart today, my Friend.
Read 2 Corinthians 4
Present Weakness and Resurrection Life
4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
a 2 Corinthians 4:6 Gen. 1:3
b 2 Corinthians 4:13 Psalm 116:10 (see Septuagint)
c 2 Corinthians 4:13 Or Spirit-given
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectHow do you feel about yourself right now? Impressive or easily overlooked? Read John 3:30.
Packaging is an environmental curse. It is unlikely to be tackled soon because, as consumers, we tend to judge a product by its packaging. In the ancient world this was not so. Many products were transported in clay jars or amphorae. The packaging did not necessarily indicate the value of the contents.
The same is true of the Gospel. It does not need to be packaged with salesmanship (2). Paul is determined to present it plainly. What often conceals the Gospel is not its packaging but a block in the minds of the hearers (3). This is only removed by the Spirit of God (3:18).
In fact, for the light of God’s glory in Jesus to shine out, flimsy packaging can be a positive advantage (4–6). God chooses to carry the treasure of the Gospel in unimpressive people like you and me. We are just like plain amphorae (7). But that’s OK. It focuses people on the treasure we carry. People need to see Jesus, not us.
Physically, Paul is wasting away (16). But that’s OK too. The life of Jesus has a better chance to shine through (10). In fact, as the packaging becomes more disposable, the treasure—God’s glory in us—becomes more substantial as we fix our eyes on the things that really matter (17,18).
Do you feel as though your body is wasting away or breaking down? How can you allow God’s light to shine out despite, or because of, your weakness? Can you share the truth of God’s strength today?
Lord, let me decrease so that Your presence in me may increase and people may be drawn to You.