I'm tired of sounding like a stupid cat poster. I want words that are true and powerful.
THEREFORE WE DO NOT LOSE HEART. THOUGH OUTWARDLY WE ARE WASTING AWAY, YET INWARDLY WE ARE BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:16
“Don’t lose heart” isn't just another pithy saying.
I don’t want to say that I hate pithy sayings… but I kinda do hate pithy sayings. And it’s not that I don’t say them… oh, I do! They’re so hard not to say. I say them when I don’t know what else to say. I say them out of sheer laziness, telling my kids to “be kind” or “attitude is everything”. I find myself saying, “you got this” to my overwhelmed friends instead of offering them something that’s actually meaningful. Sheesh! I sound like a stupid cat poster (if you don’t get the reference, go watch the Lego Movie). But seriously! Why do they make my skin crawl? I know it isn’t simply because I love words and pithy sayings are cheap and uncreative. I think it’s actually because there’s no power in them. They're flat words with no real depth. When I tell my friend she’s “got this”, I don’t actually know that she does, and my saying it changes nothing. Similarly, I can “send” all the “good vibes” in the world, but they don’t mean a thing, because they’re completely powerless. I want to say words that are actually true and have power, not just positivity. But more than just speaking true, powerful words, I want to believe them and experience them for myself. So, when I think about our verse this month, when I say, “Don’t lose heart”, I want to know why. Why can I say that? Where is the power in that statement? Where is the truth for my soul and the soul of any other person I would say that to? I want to say, “Don’t lose heart because______.” So, let’s figure it out together. Let’s discover why “don’t lose heart” isn’t just another pithy saying.
THEREFORE we do not lose heart.
Oh I love that ordinary word, “therefore”. It tells us that there’s a reason we don’t lose heart. It tells us that there’s a “why” fueling our courage. There’s a reason we don’t give up or give in. That word, “therefore”, is the key word. It tells us there is something that was discussed previously, and that something is the reason that we don’t lose heart. We don’t lose heart BECAUSE of something, something meaty and true, something we can sink our teeth into. And we can know what that reason is. We just have to look back into chapter 4 to discover the “why” behind our confidence.
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
We do not lose heart… We do NOT lose heart.
Well first off, there’s this odd thing that happens. Our verse isn’t the first time that phrase, “We do not lose heart”, shows up in chapter 4. It’s right there at the very beginning of the chapter in verse 1, and then it occurs right at the end of the chapter, in our verse. Incidentally, it doesn’t show up anywhere else in all of scripture, just here. So, that uncommon biblical phrase “we do not lose heart” works like bookends. And those bookends beg us, the readers, to pay more attention to what’s going on in the middle of those two identical phrases. When we read the rest of the chapter we discover that it’s precisely everything in the middle of that repeated phrase that causes us to not lose heart.
So, what’s in the middle?
What causes us to not lose heart? To put it plainly, it’s the life that we have in Jesus. Paul states it and restates it in all sorts of ways throughout the chapter, but the essence of his message is that there’s life in Jesus, and it’s on offer to all people. But there’s also another force at work, outside of Jesus, there is death and hardship and struggle. He illustrates his point most succinctly with a picture image. He says we’re all like common clay pots filled with an amazing treasure. And that treasure is the glorious light, the all-surpassing power, and the life of Jesus in us ordinary, humble, perishable people. But if Jesus is on the inside, death is on the outside, constantly coming at us—we are hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. Still the power and the life of Jesus reigns over the death that presses in on us, saving us from ruin, despair, abandonment, and destruction. And all of this is for our thanksgiving and God’s glory. So, that’s the middle, in a nutshell… which brings us back to our verse.
THEREFORE, we do not lose heart.
Because Jesus gives us life.
Because he is the invaluable treasure in us.
Because the all-surpassing power of God protects us…
- from pressure.
- from confusion.
- from persecution.
- from death.
Because Jesus himself rescues us.
Because death has no power over us.
Because God is glorified in us.
THEREFORE, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
THIS is why we don’t lose heart: because JESUS. We don’t give up, even though we’re “wasting away”. Because Jesus, himself, gives us his life and renews us on the inside. Not just one time, but for all time. He renews us “day by day”. TODAY. This is the promise of our verse. This is the power and the truth for our souls. Right now.
This is no pithy saying.
This is reality. And we have the choice today between death and life. Between wasting away and renewal. Between the light of Jesus and the darkness. Verse 6 says it this way:
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ."
This is it! The Glory of God, shining in our clay pots! Endless worth, new life, glory... IN US! Do you see it? Do you believe it? It’s on offer for you and for me, today and every day to come until we see that glory face to face. Amen??? AMEN!!!
Now that you know the reason to take heart, will you believe it and live it?
Will you tell someone else the reason why they too can “not lose heart”?
Thanks for reading,
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