14 day plan

Wise Like Christ

Day 1 of 14


2 Corinthians 4:1

Spiritual Treasure in Clay Pots

1God in his mercy has given us this work to do, and so we do not become discouraged.

Have you ever wondered what made St Paul tick? What was it that drove him to achieve so much for Jesus?  He was a man with great passion and energy, but these were only secondary to his real power, because he thought himself to be rather ordinary. He was much like a ‘clay pot’ or a take away coffee cup. Paul saw that his power came from a treasure within. It gave him resilience, grace and winsomeness. While on the outside he may be fragile, inside he was being renewed each day…becoming like Christ. And the great news is that he expected that this would be our experience too!

Today we start a new series, Wise Like Christ, which has been prepared by Matt Brain. Matt is a Bishop of the  Anglican Diocese of Bendigo.

Reflections:  Even the strongest of us will tend to lose heart. In some ways we are never more like our fellow human beings than when we are disappointed. But we do not want to stay disheartened. We all expend so much energy (and ironically disagreement) in trying to lift ourselves out of disappointment.
It requires great wisdom to navigate the journey from ‘down’ to ‘up’ productively. Paul knew this journey. He had trodden its paths many times, and in 2 Corinthians 4 we see him setting out once more to cover the familiar ground. But it is interesting. Paul may not yet know the destination, but he knows where he is starting.

Questions:  What is Paul meaning by ‘engaging in this ministry’ (hint see chapter 3)?  What has God mercifully given you to be doing?

Prayer: Dear Lord, even though we do not deserve them you delight to give us good gifts. May I so delight in what you have given me that I do not become down-of-heart today. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Spiritual Treasure in Clay Pots

1God in his mercy has given us this work to do, and so we do not become discouraged. 2We put aside all secret and shameful deeds; we do not act with deceit, nor do we falsify the word of God. In the full light of truth we live in God's sight and try to commend ourselves to everyone's good conscience. 3For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. 4They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 5For it is not ourselves that we preach; we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God's glory shining in the face of Christ.

7Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us. 8We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. 10At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies. 11Throughout our lives we are always in danger of death for Jesus' sake, in order that his life may be seen in this mortal body of ours. 12This means that death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 The scripture says, “I spoke because I believed.” In the same spirit of faith we also speak because we believe. 14We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us up with Jesus and take us, together with you, into his presence. 15All this is for your sake; and as God's grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving.

Living by Faith

16For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. 17And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. 18For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.