God's Power in Clay Jars

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. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 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. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture--"I believed, and so I spoke" --we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)

Questions For Reflection & Sharing

1. St. Paul is writing about the power of the resurrection in our daily lives. He says that while we may be afflicted, we are not crushed; while we may be perplexed, we do not despair. Share some experience in your life where you felt God raised you up in the midst of trials.

2. Paul believes he is raised up - is an overcomer - for the sake of others. How has your experience of victory through Christ been a help to others?

3. What do you think Paul means by "outer nature" and "inner nature?" What does he mean by our inner nature is being renewed day by day?

4. Paul puts our slight momentary affliction on one side of the scale (for weighing) and the eternal weight of glory beyond all measure on the other. They do not balance out! How does knowing about our future glory through Jesus Christ help you to deal with today's problems?

5. Describe what it means to look at what cannot be seen instead at what can be seen. How has this helped you to deal with life's temporary problems? (How has this helped you to live "life on life's terms?")