II Corinthians 3-4
The trials of life always seem to come at the most inopportune times. A loss of a job, a death in the family, a family health concern, a financial crisis; the list goes on and many of us have experienced them from time to time. You might say, "Why must the Christian life be so difficult?" I believe we see the answer to this question in II Corinthians 3-4. In II Corinthians 4:8-9 the Bible says, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;"
How can a Christian face such hardships of life and still be confident through them? Paul goes on to say in verses 10-12, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." The truth is we experience the trials and tribulations of life first for our personal faith and dependence upon God; but more importantly, so that those who are lost around us might see the grace of God exhibited in our lives.
In II Corinthians 4:1-7, Paul is describing the need that every believer has and that is to show and give the knowledge of God to everyone around us. He says that this is accomplished in verse 6, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." What does this look like to the lost? In II Corinthians 3, Paul uses the illustration of Moses and his time with God. Moses had to wear a veil because his face was reflecting too much of God's glory. For the believer, Paul reminds us in verse 18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Just as Moses, the reminder is to spend time with the One that changes us into the image of the Lord.
It is our time with the Lord that dictates our responses to the trials of life. The more time spent with the Lord, the more He changes us into His image. Then as the trials of life come, we can do as Paul described in II Corinthians 4:12, "So then death worketh in us, but life in you." We experience the trials of life so that those who are lost around us might see the express image of the Lord through us. God allows for these experiences so we might have the opportunity to express God's mercy and manifest it through our lives to those who are lost.
What a great privilege we have to be the tool God uses to express His grace and mercy to those around us. But what a great responsibility we have to be captivated by the presence of the Lord to the extent that we are changed into His likeness to show forth the image of Christ to those who are lost. May we spend time with our God today so that the image of His Son might shine through us and our circumstances of life to a lost and dying world.
Written by Andy Horner