Monday, March 30, 2020

In their own words: Day 34

2 Corinthians 4.7-12

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from 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 made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

The second letter to the Corinthians, which may be two letters put together, picks up some of the same themes we find in 1 Corinthians. It seems that Paul visited the Corinthians between the writing of the letters, and that the visit didn’t go well. They prefer a Gospel which looks strong and in control, what would now be called a “prosperity” Gospel. But God doesn’t necessarily work like that, says Paul. Worldly success isn’t necessarily a sign of God’s blessing. Sometimes God works through apparent failure and suffering, as he did in Jesus’s death on the cross. Paul has faced much hardship but he sees God at work in this too, and hopes the Corinthians might see it in their lives.

How do you cope with your own failure and weakness?

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