Cast Down But Not Conquered

Driving through Texas, a New Yorker collided with a truck carrying a horse. A few months later he tried to collect damages for his injuries. “How can you now claim to have all these injuries?” asked the insurance company’s lawyer. “According to the police report, a … More

Suffering

God has made us the way we are so that we can do the work He wants us to do (v. 7). We often suffer, but we are never crushed (v. 8). We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed (v. 9). Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (vv. 10-11). Paul says, we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you (vv. 12-13).

As a Christian we should never complain because of a lack of gifts or abilities. Each of us is a special vessel made by God for His use. The important thing about a vessel is that it is clean, empty and available. This section is one of three sections in II Corinthians devoted to a listing of Paul’s sufferings. Paul was not afraid of suffering because he knew  that God controls trials, and God  uses trials for  His  own glory. The natural mind cannot understand this kind of spiritual truth and as a result cannot understand why Christians are victorious in suffering. Furthermore God never abandons His own. For every trial there is a corresponding encouragement.

After Paul lists some of the trials that were a part of his life and ministry, he shares how God gave him victory over all of them.

  1. He was sure of victory because of Christ’s resurrection (v. 14). 
  2. He was sure that God  would be glorified because all things work together for good (v. 15).
  3. He was sure that his trials were working for him, not against him (vv. 16-17).
  4. He was sure that the invisible world was real (v. 18).

Application

How does this chapter  make me feel about hard times? How should I act differently because of what I have learned here?

II Corinthians 4:7-18 (English Standard Version)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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