We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11
Things happen. They happen to us all. Good and bad. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. There doesn’t appear to be any discrimination. What the new covenant tells us is that it doesn’t matter. The biopsy can come back positive or it can come back negative. Neither one says anything about God’s love for us or His promises to watch over us, or His intent to use us as His ambassadors in the world in the middle of whatever we are going through.
What it says is this: when bad things happen to us, we are not alone. We have the Holy Spirit inside to push back against the forces that threaten us, and that presence changes everything. It not only gives us the power to go through whatever life throws at us, but to manifest the life of Christ in us in the midst of anything. And according to Paul, this is the most powerful force in the world. It is like death working in us to release the power of God that ends up being life for someone else.
There is nothing wasted with the Lord. He uses everything to manifest His power and presence in our lives. And since everything comes from God and nothing comes from us, then He is always saying something, whether through His fragrance, His letter on our hearts, His shining through our transparency, His light through our “cracked pots,” His push-back when pressed, His companionship when persecuted, His purposes when perplexed, His up when down, and His life in the middle of our death. God uses everything; we simply can’t lose because He always wins.
The 21 Day Challenge
— Day Nineteen —
Life at work in you
2 Corinthians 4:10-11
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
The “Life of Jesus” always rests upon the “Death of Jesus.” In our daily experiences, we must have the “Death of Jesus” to have the “Life of Jesus.”
What we want, of course, is the “life of Jesus.” However, the power of God is the miracle of others seeing in us, in the midst of our pressures and trials, the character and the life of Jesus transcending through us.
For your Consideration:
- What does Paul mean by the “death of Jesus”? Are we to nail ourselves to a cross?
- What was Jesus like on the cross? Was He powerful, impressive, and significant?
- Was Jesus willing to experience physical weakness and rejection?
- Was Jesus willing to lose everything He had built? Was He willing to trust God to bring it back and make it significant?
- Do we see any similarities in ourselves as we carry around in our body the death of Jesus?
- Are we willing to give up all the things that make us look important to other people?
- Are we willing to be insignificant, if necessary?
- Do we trust God to use us however He wills?
- So how do we get to the “Life of Jesus?”
- Do we struggle, still, with wanting the power of God and get credit for it too? How do we manifest this struggle? For me, if God has done anything through me, I want the world to know. If anything amazing happens in my midst, I might want everyone to known that I spent hours in prayer over it or I counseled so-and-so in such-and-such a helpful way.
- Do you ever want to move in and get the credit too? If so, in what ways do you struggle with wanting the “life of Jesus” but also the satisfaction of your own self?
- Are you ever compassionate of heart, but also tell people off when they are out of line?
- Do you want to be free from anxiety, but at the same time insist on the pleasure of worrying? (And yes, I said the ‘pleasure’ of worrying. A dear friend, Ron Ritchie coined a phrase, “Why pray when you can worry?”)
We want the kingdom of God and our own personal rights as well. Yet, we cannot have both. This is where the New Covenant steps in as we consciously choose to give up personal desires for recognition and significance, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” So that God can give it back to us in a right way.
Verse 11 is not a popular verse. This is because, like it or not, there are circumstances that God puts us in where we have to die. “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”
For your consideration
Have you ever felt a sense of waste or that like God is not using you?
Have you ever experienced hurt, despair, and heartache?
Regardless of how hard you work, have you wondered why God hasn’t noticed you?
These are examples of ‘for we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake.”
Yet, what is the hope? “so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body” to give life to someone else.
For your consideration:
- Explain how Paul’s statement So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you works in your life.
- What benefit have you experienced because of Paul’s willingness to welcome the death of Jesus at work in him?
- Who in your life is willing to be sacrificed for your faith so that you might understand and grow in the grace of Christ?