But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies . . . So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:7–10, 16–18, esv).
If there’s anything that stinks about life on a human level, it’s that when you’re finally smart enough to live this life well, it’s almost over. Isn’t that right? Every day we pitch our tents on earth is one day’s march closer to eternity. Your body starts to creak . . . your hair changes color or location . . . you’re not as fast as the younger guys on the basketball court . . . you notice lines on your face that weren’t there before. Can you relate? Maybe not, but I’m guessing if you’re over 30, then you have at least an inkling of what I’m talking about.
But check this: Though it’s true we’re losing ground on the outside, the phenomenal thing about being a follower of Jesus is that we are getting better on the inside!
Every human is created with the deep sense that we consist of more than just our physical bodies. There’s an inner part of us that defines our eternal person. As we walk with Christ, daily learning and growing more like Him, that inner person is being changed—“renewed day by day.” There’s great joy in that!
Second Corinthians 4:10 says that we are being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” How is Jesus’ life seen in us? When our characters are transformed to be more like His character; when we become more loving, humble, selfless, giving, obedient. Philippians 3:10 also describes this process as “becoming like him in his death.” What Jesus modeled in going to the cross for you and me is the essence of the things that God wants to renew in us. For the most part, these things are unseen because, as 2 Corinthians 4 finishes, “the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Listen, if you’re walking and growing with God, your best years are up ahead. God’s process of transformation is faithfully renewing the inside you—the eternal you—day by day.
Lord, thank You for the gift of eternal life that not only promises life after death, but a renewed spirit day by day. Thank You for the security of knowing that You keep Your children and fulfill every one of Your promises. Protect me where my heart would be discouraged by the aging of my outward person. Cause me instead to be invigorated with the prospect of an inward heart that is being made more alive every day. In the name of Jesus, my ever-creating God, amen.