Before we enter the Christmas season of posts on this site, the Lord has been indicating to me clearly that the Kairos season of God is about to change. This means we are about to see some issues we have been warring with in the last few months be resolved miraculously. A powerful revelation of this we can see clearly in John 2, when in crisis, Jesus called for the waterpots be filled to the brim with water. The action of filling with water in no means correlated with the crisis in hand ,but it prepared the way for the miracle to manifest when needed. So when the season changes our “water” of the Word will be so to the full that when we pour out in prophetic declaration we see new wine come forth. I am believing for this now.
2 Corinthians is a letter for which Paul addresses much complicated realities which could have stumbled them. The contrast between the miraculous and revelatory nature of Paul’s life was set in context of a life of suffering. This suffering could be issues which pertain to inner struggles of the soul, persecution from his own people, the necessities and hard labour in the midst of new saints, and those who were violently opposed to the Gospel.
In some circumstances it seemed that God would immediately resolve, and bring justice against those who opposed the Gospel, and for others ,were allowed to persecute the Church. Paul must address the fact that however powerful is the manifestation of God’s purpose and power in the Gospel personal suffering in many levels is the price of preparation to see the excellency that what is manifest is not of human origin.
What increasingly concerns me is the tendency by which our theology is being moulded by the contemporary trends of our day. If you were to do an exercise regarding the publicity published on our media platforms all if not a major percentage is driven toward the fulfilment of the pursuit of personal comfort. Yet when I read about the pioneers of the early Church I see the opposite happen. There is no comfort at all. What I see is great cost paid for getting the message heard, Paul himself stoned many times, whipped, imprisoned, accused in court.
Why is a message so good, so full of hope, is so opposed? I think it has to do with the Cross that has to be applied and all that comes with identifying with Christ. The human soul is so selfish and so deceptive that Christ and His Cross brings home our need for self denial and identification in His Death. I recently had a discussion at an Abbey retreat where a negative view was given of the Crucifix, because of what it seems to represent. The argument against this portrayal of Christ, is that He rose from the dead. The empty cross being more applicable. In key moments i think we need to be reminded that for us to live the Christian life we are enjoying the blessings bought through the complete work of Calvary. In seeing Christ there I am reminded that I must take up my own Cross. That cross I must take up is my own, the cost of its application is tailor made to my character and my destiny. The cost embraced in its depth correlates to the depth of fulfilling my destiny I will see in my lifetime.
Paul brings the imagery of treasures in fragile vessels. The treasure is so wonderful in contrast to the vessels which carry it.
The vessels sometimes break when carrying this treasure through various reasons. We must not lose sight how wonderful is this treasure. There are various “For” statements.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
11.For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
And in Chapter 5 the “For” statement continue.
1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked
And we could go on.
There are various statements to point us away from placing so much importance on our body and temporal priorities. Paul is steering the reader to the absolute power, certainty, purpose that comes with looking first at God’s programme for the Gospel. The Gospel presents to those without understanding several stumbling blocks, and areas of apparent contradiction. We see the power of healing, but why are not all healed? What do we need to do with this absolute interpretation of theology. It is here where the discernment of the Holy Spirit is needed. We do not form our theology via our understanding, we are led into our theology via the Holy Spirit’s teaching in us.
The first “for” statement covers the origin and motivation of their preaching. It is Christ. Once you establish your foundation you are on good ground, because in many places He is presented as the Cornerstone. Mark 12.10 tells us that the “stone” the builders rejected became the main headstone. This means that He is a sure foundation, even those who reject Him, is because they want to build their lives with human principles. Paul says that what they preach is not for showing their wisdom or knowledge but is a demonstration of power of the One who is all powerful. Unfortunately we are more readily dressing up our message with a denominational bias than preach Him who is a Personal God to us.
This God was touchable, hearable, and dwelt in our midst. John chapter 1 presents this mystery, that the Word, a spiritual truth intention, wrapped up in the Godhead, came to live with us as Emmanuel.
The second “for” statement has to do with the same imagery as John chapter 1, which gives us the Light coming in a context of Darkness. Isaiah 60:1 promises this light coming to us also. This light did not just shine into our physical eyes, rather came into the heart and illuminated the soul with saving and sanctifying knowledge. This light saves, this light illuminates the way to our celestial destiny.
There are 7 lights in the above image, each correspond to 7 fires of Isaiah 11. There are 7 of these fires that must burn in him who is spiritually oriented. Light is not just shining, but also burning. It burns to bring us into spiritual maturity and discernment. These lights stand before the Throne…Revelation 5. They are close to the Person of God because when they operate in our lives we Behold Him!
The fourth “for” statement tells us that we may experience affliction in this life, but our vision must be that suffering, affliction, tribulation has a specific purpose in our walk with God. What James says is that tribulation works patience, perverance, and provision for all things unto perfection. So it is tied up with our perfecting and preparation to live in the Spirit in the Celestial places. If we are to live in the eternal realms, should not our thinking, motivations, purposes should it not be logical as this “celestial life” in the person of the Spirit, start now? What Paul does in verse 17 in his “for this light affliction” places the whole area of suffering clearly in God’s plans and purposes.
Whilst noone likes to suffer, or to have to be patient with difficult circumstances or people, so we have to go before God to discern what God is saying in what we are walking through.
What I believe is that we must all prepare to study His Word in 2020 because this new decade will present such challenges that to have faith could represent for us a physical cost. Unless we are building on a good foundation we shall fall from the standard He has set for us. We are those fragile vessels, which carry a wonderful treasure, and in our weaknesses, trials and afflictions must point all around us to the preeminence of that treasure who is Christ Himself. May we grasp this truth. So that in embracing these things of our trials we may point effectively and manifest powerfully the Person of Christ.