2 Corinthians 4:16-1816 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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Paul's words here in 2 Corinthians give us motivation and courage to maintain our steadfastness in living the Christian life. Earlier in the chapter, Paul had already given us the picture of a "treasure in jars of clay" in order to show that the power to keep going is from God, not us. Even our life experiences let us know we may become hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, but never crushed, never in total despair, never abandoned, never destroyed.
The reason we can have confidence even when we are experiencing troubles, in the words of Paul, we carry in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus can also be revealed in our body. When we have that assurance that Jesus' death is applied to us, then we also know that his life is revealed through us.
All these things constitute the way the Christian should face difficult times and troubling circumstances, bringing Paul to start with the word "therefore," and followed by the verses printed above. It brings me to ask myself if I am ever tempted to lose heart. Make no mistake about it, Christians sometimes experience less than favorable occurrences in their lives. They are all subject to temptation, they could possibly face ridicule and persecution, they are as likely to get cancer as anyone else, they get laid off from jobs, and their kids aren't always perfect.
Paul says there is no reason to lose heart. Outwardly we are wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Those who are younger may not related to that as much as those of us who are older. We have more experience with heartache, disappointment, and even the wasting away of our bodies. While we thank God that wrinkles aren't painful, we cry out to God because arthritis is! Even though we have these problems outwardly, the promise is "inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
God's word wants you to know and understand that the things you suffer in living for God are building for you an eternal glory that is greater than any troubles or failures you may experience. Yes, we may get knocked down, but that is only an opportunity for us to get back up. And because we have God's promise that our endurance and steadfastness keep us from losing heart, we stand a little taller each time we get back up. Look at verse 18 again, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."