1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 29

The Light of the Gospel

by

Today's Text: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, Romans 6:5-7, 2 Timothy 4:3

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, Romans 6:5-7, 2 Timothy 4:3

My husband and I have a saying in our home, “Fidelity (or faithfulness) to the Word of God and not to an outcome.” We say it to one another and to others often, because the truth is we are often more interested in controlling the outcome of a situation than we are in abiding by the Word of God.

We want success.
We want freedom.
We want peace.
We want “the scoop.”
We want to be seen rightly.
We want to defend our actions.
We want time to ourselves.
We don’t want to confront sin.
We don’t want to do hard things.
We don’t want to be held responsible.

How then, we usually find ourselves asking, can we get the desired outcome out of any situation?

I don’t think we’re alone in this. It’s human nature to spin the story, cast blame, make excuses. From the beginning of time, cunning words have been practiced and God’s words have been tampered with (Genesis 3). All it takes is a cursory glance around at the state of the Church, the government, family, and my own heart to see the practice of cunning words abounding and God’s Word still being tampered with. We are all playing chess with people, circumstances, God’s Word, and His timing—trying to get the outcome we desire or avoid the outcome we don’t want.

Within today’s passage, this is what strikes me most about Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for [Jesus’] sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). The main thing we’re doing when we try to control the outcome, hide the truth, and circumvent the hard things, is proclaim our own glory and significance. We’re trying to make ourselves look good, look right (or at least less wrong). We’re trying to raise ourselves in the estimation of others.

But look again at what Paul tells the Corinthians: “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus” (v. 6). This is a powerful picture, if we pay attention.

God’s glory (Christ Jesus) shines into our hearts (darkened by sin and brokenness), giving us the light of knowledge. As we’re tying ourselves into knots trying to control the narrative and the outcome, God is shining the light of Jesus into our dark hearts and giving us knowledge, the very thing we lack. (For if we had it, there would be no need to feel anxious about outcomes, because we’d always make the perfect decision.) And what knowledge is this? Look back to the beginning of the chapter:

Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth” (vv. 1–2).

Do you want to walk in all of life with a good outcome? Do you want to be above reproach? A worshiper of the one true God? A humble, faithful, kind, gentle person? Let the light of Christ Jesus shine on your darkened heart, the one more prone to seeking out its own way than making way for God. And, having walked faithfully and according to God’s Word, let others see the outcomes in your life as they truly are—as someone holding fast to God’s truth, not their own, whose heart is alight with Christ Jesus—even if the outcomes of your life look foolish to the world. Your fidelity is to His Word and His will first.

SRT-Corinthians-Shareimage-Day29

Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • Heather Ward

    Love this passage by Paul and the devo. The older I get, the more in love I find myself with Gods word – it is truth and it pierced me right to the core. The author is so right in that I often want to control or fix the outcome instead of trusting Gods word and truth.

  • Emily Hicks

    Hi! I needed this right here more than I think I have ever needed anything in my entire life. So many GOOD and WONDERFUL things are happening in my life right now, both with relationships, (with God and others), and with the events of my life in general. If you are going through a hard time right now, I AM TRULY SORRY. I promise that the LORD still sees you and loves you very much. HE will carry you through and in the end he will show you why he is letting this awful thing happen in your life. Literally, please just trust him. I PROMISE you won’t regret it. If your life is going great right now, PLEASE acknowledge that whatever is happening in your life right now is a gift from GOD. If you trust him already, just keep trusting him. If you don’t trust him right now, find a Christian Bible, and please just open it and read it. If anyone wants to talk more about this to me, you can give me a personal email and I’ll respond as soon as I can! I’d love to chat!

  • Monica Davis

    Thank god for the light of his word!

  • “let light shine out of darkness” followed by Paul comparing our hearts to clay jars just makes me think. What good is putting a light inside a clay jar unless it has some cracks in it? Going through hard times makes so much sense when you think of it this way. If you have the light of Jesus in your heart, be prepared for God to make some holes in your pottery so others can see the light that shines within you. And if you think that sounds cruel, remind yourself “everything is for your benifit, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God”

    • Elaine

      i just realized job is the perfect example. God put ALOT of cracks in jobs pottery but because he kept the faith and glorified God through all the hard times, he has one of the brightest lights for us to look to in our hard times.

  • Chi Obasi

    I had a difficult encounter with God yesterday at my church and this passage really spoke to some of that for me and affirmed what I needed to learn and know moving forward: that it’s not my will but His that I need to focus on. So good!

  • Katie Morrison

    Beautiful. Reminds me of my daughter’s Cinderella movie, “Have courage and be kind” I look at this woman and think about how gentle, kind and beautiful she is, despite what she wanted to say and do, she was gracious. That was what made her stand out. In the same way, putting our desires aside and letting Jesus shine through attracts others to us, to Him.

  • Kelly Hock

    Well… Today I am holding on to this truth of Jesus taking the outcome. I feel God telling me to be happy and content with where our life is at this moment. Sometimes I hold too tightly to future changes and dreams instead of focusing on Christ and being content. So I will push my hopes of the outcome to Jesus and begin to focus on the contentment of where Jesus has me now. Lord have mercy and grace as I begin this new mindset.

    • Britt

      Kelly I relate to you so much. Just last night I was deeply sadden by the urge to start a family, but I know that is not the place where God has called my husband and I to be yet. I felt shameful as I knew I wasn’t being content with all that God had already given me, I wanted MORE. I am working on this daily to just grow where I am planted now, instead of quickly trying to rush to the next phase of my life. I am praying that we will both be able to use this passage to help us with this struggle.

  • I looked up treasure in jars of clay and found this awesome explanation on it that was so good, definitely recommend reading it: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/its-good-to-be-a-jar-of-clay
    I love how she mentioned that it only takes a slight push on jars of clay for them to slip, fall, and break. That is so true of me. I look for satisfaction in the wrong places, and as a result I fall. But thank you Lord that you are putting me back togegher, piece by piece, and shining your light through the broken bits, through my imperfections. You are sufficient in my weakness. Thank you for loving me in the middle of my sin.

    • Candy

      Thank you SO much Sarah for sharing that link! My kids are 30 & 33 but this still is so true to my life as a mom! Especially now that at their ages I don’t have the control I used to!!

  • Wow so so good. I need to open up the doors of my broken heart and embrace the love and light that I already have in Jesus. I looked up treasure in jars of clay and found this awesome little explanation on it that was so good, definitely recommend reading it: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/its-good-to-be-a-jar-of-clay
    I love how she mentioned that it only takes a slight push on jars of clay for them to slip, fall, and break. That is so true of me. I look for satisfaction in the wrong places, and as a result I fall. But thank you Lord that you are putting me back togegher, piece by piece, and shining your light through the broken bits, through my imperfections. You are sufficient in my weakness. Thank you for loving me in the middle of my sin

  • Brenna Riethmiller

    This is my first day on this app doing the study. I am looking forward to encouragement every day. I struggle with staying focused to have a devotional time each day but it is so needed in my life.

  • Sara Paye

    Same here! Solidarity in the peace of Christ.

  • Sara Paye

    I was waiting for today. I had made an honest mistake last week and was feeling awful about it; striving to control the outcome. These passages put me at ease.

    • Brenna Riethmiller

      Praise God that every week and day is new! You have been set free from last week’s mistakes.

  • At the beginning of this year, God gave me the word “light” for 2018. It kept showing up everywhere, both in writing (Bible studies and devotionals) and in actuality. I knew for certain that He was giving me that word when I was driving home from church one night during a difficult week. As I turned out of the church yard to drive home, there was the biggest and brightest moon I had ever seen, shining its light into the dark night and leading me home. And I know that’s what God has been promising me, that His light will lead me through the darkness and shine in my very heart.

    A couple weeks later, I made a decision to step away from a serious relationship with a man I had been dating for several years. Although he is a Christian, he has been reluctant to commit wholeheartedly to seeking the Lord. I had a similar stance when we started dating, but a few years into our relationship I decided to answer God’s call in my life to pursue Him with my whole heart.

    I have been praying for this man’s spiritual growth for a long time and God has answered many of those prayers, but felt it was necessary at this point to separate because I realized that I was constantly thinking about controlling the outcome instead of truly trusting God to answer in His timing and according to His will. I have continued pray for him over the past six months and he recently contacted me for the first time since the breakup. We are meeting up today to talk and even though I know he probably wants to get back together, I do not believe that it is God’s will for me to be in a relationship with a man who does not have an intimate relationship with Him. I believe that if God wants us back together, then He will do that in His timing, when we are both secure in our faith and ready for marriage. So I will continue to pray for this man and let God do what He knows is best for both of us.

    If you’ve read all of this, please pray for me today as I have a very difficult conversation with this man whom I care for deeply. Pray that God’s light will shine through me in this meeting, and that we will both surrender to the Lord in this situation and trust Him with the outcome.

    • Brenna Riethmiller

      Praying for wisdom and peace for you today, Kristi

    • Shari Remmenga

      Yes. Praying

    • Mari V

      I am praying for you Kristi. Stay strong! Stay strong and firm on your beliefs and your boundaries. Trust HIM! Our Jesus loves you more than anyone ever could. He knows what’s best for all of us! I will be praying for you throughout the day.

    • Kara

      So beautiful to see a sister trusting the Lord! I’m praying for you.

    • Brittany Ringo

      Praying for you Kristi!

    • Nicole Winton

      I’m definitely praying for you and this special man. How blessed he is to have someone praying over him every day. I was in the same situation last year with my serious boyfriend of 2 years. He was a Christian but had lost his way and we split. I prayed intentionally over him every day for his heart mind and walk with God because when I prayed God told me not to give up on him. We needed to separate so that God could work on us Both individually to bring us even closer together. Fast forward a year we are together and our love for Jesus is stronger than ever. He has grown so close to Jesus and has ministered to so many people along the way and the same with me. However the important part of this story is that I had to make sure that I understood exactly what God was telling me throughout this journey. It was the most difficult thing to do in my life to give up control and the love of my life to God but how blessed we both are now. I hope this encourages you but understand that your journey may not be the same as ours to make sure to pray intentionally for the both of you and listen because God will certainly guide your heart mind and spirit as you walk with him.

  • Jennifer Martin

    ❤️

  • Churchmouse

    We have this ministry
    We do not give up
    An open display of the truth
    The god of this age
    Blinded the minds of unbelievers
    We are not proclaiming ourselves
    But
    Jesus Christ as Lord
    Knowledge of God’s glory
    In the face of Jesus Christ
    Treasure in clay jars
    This extraordinary power
    From God
    We are
    Afflicted
    Perplexed
    Persecuted
    Struck down
    But
    Not crushed
    Not in despair
    Not abandoned
    Not destroyed
    The one who raised the Lord Jesus
    Will also
    Raise us with Jesus
    Everything is for your benefit
    Grace extends
    Thanksgiving to increase
    Glory to God
    Do not give up
    Our inner person
    Is being renewed
    Dad by day
    Absolutely
    Incomparable
    Eternal
    Weight of
    Glory

    2Cor4:1-18. Amen

  • Anna Wright

    Lately I have struggled to stay in God’s light. I’m a 28 year old single mum who has been out of work for a couple months now. I keep getting rejected from jobs I know I would have been great at. Feeling pretty disheartened about where I am in life. Would love some prayer that God will open doors, that my life will feel like it has some purpose. I have felt like if I could just get a job I would feel better by myself but then questioning whether God is trying to use this time for something. Just needing some encouragement and guidance from you wise women.

    • Tina

      Anne. Good Morning.. I’m sorry to hear you are in this place of struggle… can I, as one who has seen God use the time I assumed as a struggle in finding a job, as a time that in these days I now see as a gift.. i left my job to set up on my own.. but not many jobs came so I spent the time with my daughter.. painting her flat, sharing time and space. .. a year later she died.. I am not telling you this to say anything bad is coming but to assure you that this time you have, be thankful. Spend it well.. use it wisely for God’s plan for you is perfect. Trust Him and don’t believe the enemies lies .. you may believe the jobs that are gone were perfect for you.. But God has something better for you trust Him.. for your Father knows what you need…Amen…
      Sending hugs and prayers wrapped in love..x

      • Debbie

        Amen, Tina! Abba, Good had something perfect in store for you! While you wait, enjoy your time of with your family and friends. Shares God’s love with everyone!

        • Debbie

          Wow! I really should have proofread my comment…here it is corrected so you might be able to figure out what I was trying to say…

          God has something perfect in store for you! While you wait, enjoy your time off with your family and friends. Share God’s love with everyone!

      • Debbie

        Tina, you words are always a blessing to me. This morning God spoke to me via your words. I thank you for sharing the love of our Heavenly Father.

      • Anne Jones

        Amen wise guidance.

      • Nicole Cox

        Tina, although not intended for me, this deeply spoke to me! Thank you for your wisdom!!

    • Lynne

      Anna, God does have a plan for you during this difficult time! Try to be patient (much easier said than done, I know). Rest in His love and mercy! I’m praying for you!

    • Stephanie

      Anna, I’m praying that God would give you patience and strength for this time. And that he would make your next steps clear.

      I know it’s frustrating, but I would keep applying to jobs if I were you. Don’t give up!

    • K Richards

      Praying for you, Anna. Praying that you see God’s hand in your situation right now. Praying for your strength, joy, clarity, direction & comfort. I pray that you enjoy this precious time with your child, or children despite the struggle you’re experiencing. God is with you.

    • Amy VanderHoff

      Anna, praying right now for God to give you wisdom and discernment about where your next job should be. Praying He will light the way to the right open doors and that you will feel peace that passes understanding when the right job comes along. God has a plan for you!

    • Bessie

      Anna, God’s timing is always perfect. When we run ahead and try to take matters into our own hands we risk missing His best. I know waiting is hard, but “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”. He knows what you need and He will provide. Rest in His loving arms.

    • Kailee Tidball

      Lord, I pray your comforting peace as Anna waits on You to open the doors to where You want her to be. Give her your eyes to see what You want her focus to be in this time of waiting and comfort her always. It is in Jesus name I ask these things. Amen!

    • Colleen W

      As a fellow single mom, I am praying for you Anna. Trust in the timing. I know that is hard when bills and life start to mount up. I know. Praying for a job that fills your soul AND provides.

    • Kelly Chataine

      Thank God for the rejections because you know He has a perfect place for you. We often think we know what would be best but God knows for sure. Trust Him and thank Him. Wait and know that He will provide. Praying for you!

    • Liz Tardo

      Praying for you Anna. I know the struggles and hardships that come with providing for your family. I pray that all things work together for your good.

    • Brooks LeeLaCombe

      Praying for you Anna! Just keeping putting God first and let him direct all your paths.

    • Alexis

      Hi Anna,
      Praying against discouragement from the enemy in this time of waiting for a job. I pray that God opens the door for the perfect job for you. <3

    • Brenna Riethmiller

      Lord, I ask that you open doors for Anna and give her peace about the direction you are leading her. Don’t let her fall into the trap of fear and anxiety, but lift her up and give her an understanding of your strength and guidance in her life. Amen

    • Mari V

      Anna, I just prayed for you. I am not single but I’ve been living the life of a single mom for almost a year. I’m separated from my kids dad. And the kids are with me. Though I am working,I’ve seen God provide in the most amazing ways! Trust him Anna, He is providing for you and will continue to provide. I pray that the right job comes along side you soon. Meantime enjoy watching how God provides for you and your children. I am in awe how MY GOD has provided and continues to provide for me and my kids.

    • Brittany Ringo

      Praying for you Anna! God has got you in His hands and His timing and plans are perfect and He is faithful in everything, we just have to trust Him. Praying for peace and provision in you and your babies lives

  • Colleen DeVeau

    “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).
    I love this picture, the way that God reveals Himself in us: His light in these little, insignificant clay jars. People cannot help but notice, and they say, “I was drawn to you because of the light that’s coming from you. What IS that?”
    “It’s Christ in me. I’m nothing on my own. He is the light in me, His power, His ability in me. He is the life you see, the vibrancy, the passion, the reason in me. Without Him, I am nothing.”

  • I was pray walking the neighborhood today. It’s a Ministry called: Boots on the Ground. We are to walk it and pray for salvations, deliverance, healing, and other things that the Holy Spirit may prompt you to pray. I was thinking that I want to be like she’s writing about. I want to be above reproach as I live for God. I want my thoughts and actions to be pleasing to Him, I want to see Him for who He is, and be in love with Him and Jesus. I want people to see Jesus when they see me. I want to be humble and fall in love with Him. I want the neighborhood to feel like that too and have a ripple effect, so more and more turn to Him. This song was sung in church today. What if we really believed it? https://youtu.be/lKw6uqtGFfo

Further Reading...