Pressed but Not Crushed

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:1-5:15

“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

“But this is a new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – Jeremiah 31:31-33

Paul described himself as being a minister of this new covenant – a covenant not of written laws as was etched in stone long ago, but a covenant of the Holy Spirit living within us. The old way brought death by defining two choices – obey these laws and live or disobey and die. The new way brings life as the Spirit lives within us and He, himself, changes us, making us right with God (2 Corinthians 3:6-9).

When Moses saw the glory of God, his face shone so bright that the people were unable to look at him. But this brightness soon faded away. With the new covenant, God places a light in our heart that shines for all to see the glory of God.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

We are not like Moses who had to put a veil over his face so the people would not see God’s glory. When we believe in Christ, when we turn to the Lord, the veil is lifted and we can boldly show the light of God for all to see (3:12, 14). When things get difficult, we do not focus on the darkness around us but on the light burning bright within us. His Spirit reminds us of God’s presence and gives us the strength to overcome our troubles – a power not from ourselves but of God (4:7).

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. – 2 Corin. 4:1

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. – 2 Corin. 4:8-9

And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. This is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produced for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

Our present circumstances are temporary. Paul describes even our physical bodies as earthly tents that will be taken down and replaced by a house in heaven – an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands (5:1). When we grow weary of our present situation, God’s Spirit within us reminds us that He is preparing us for our home with Him. He has made a new covenant with us, we are not alone. When we believe in Him, we walk away from our old self and allow a new light to live within us, bringing glory to the Creator Himself. I now live for him so everything I do and everything I say today is for Him, so that I can reflect His glory for the world to see.

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others…Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. – 2 Corinthians 5:11, 14b-15

We are children of the new covenant.
We are fragile clay jars that contain a great treasure.
We have this light shining in our hearts.
We focus on this light when things get difficult.
We are pressed, but not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are NEVER abandoned by God.
We may get knocked down by life’s circumstances, but not destroyed.
These troubles are temporary.
Therefore, we never give up.