by Bible League International
Verse of the Day and Devotion
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. – II Corinthians 4:11 NKJV
There’s a paradox in the life of every Christian. Although we live, although we live abundantly in Christ Jesus (John 10:10), we still have to deal with death. That is, although we live, our lives contain various things that can be compared to death, if not death itself. At one moment, things are going well: we feel healthy, we have money, we’re protected, we’re happy, etc. At the next moment, in contrast, things are going bad: we get sick, we lose money, we’re persecuted, we’re sad, etc. We have the surpassing power of the life of Jesus taking us to ever greater levels of life, but we still have to deal with the devil and his attempts to stop it from manifesting in “our mortal flesh.”
The Apostle Paul expressed the paradox in this way: “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (II Corinthians 4:8-9) We long to escape the paradox. We long for the good times to go on forever, but the reality of brokenness and death keeps intruding into our lives anyway. We know the Bible, we know that the paradox will never be completely overcome this side of glory. Nevertheless, we want as much of the first-fruits of that coming era as we can get right now. (Romans 8:23) We’ve experienced how good it is and we want more of it.
Why? Why the paradox? Aside from the fact that God’s redemption has yet to reach its consummation, the paradox goes on because we would make a grievous error if it didn’t. If we never saw anything other than the life of Jesus made manifest, if we never saw anything other than the good times it brings about, then we’d be tempted to think that the good comes from us instead of God. Paul puts it this way: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (II Corinthians 4:11)
The life of Jesus needs to be clearly manifested in our lives for everyone to see. They would never see it as such, however, if it didn’t come in contrast to brokenness and death.