SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul writes about people who do not believe and says that the "god of this world" (Satan) has "blinded the minds of unbelievers." There are powerful forces working against people coming to faith and giving their lives to Jesus.
- Paul talks about "treasure" in "jars of clay." He was referring to his own body (the jar of clay) and the message of Jesus (the treasure). In our vulnerable and aging bodies we carry (and get to share) the amazing life-giving message of the gospel.
- We can continue living for Jesus without losing heart. Even though our bodies may waste away God renews us every day. Paul says that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” He finishes the chapter by encouraging his readers to fix their eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- When Paul says “our light and momentary troubles,” he’s not talking about the kind of troubles we go through and get frustrated by (bad traffic or spotty cell phone coverage). Paul went through some very hard times (see 1 Corinthians 4:9-13) and he's calling these troubles "light and momentary." Perhaps we need to realize that most of what we suffer through really isn't that bad.
- Paul says we can have an overcoming attitude no matter what we go because "life is at work" in us (the life of Jesus), and through by fixing "our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen" through which we'll be renewed, knowing that there is a future glory awaiting us that far outweighs all our problems in this life.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- How could you allow the life of Jesus to really be at work in you? When troubles hit, what could remind you to fix your eyes on what cannot been seen instead of the problems you can see? How can the promise of Heaven get you through your struggles? What practices could you put in your life today that would help you become the kind of person who truly lives this way?