2 Corinthians 4:7–15 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. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you … For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Paul suffers relationally. Everywhere he goes, he finds himself at odds with political and ecclesiastical authorities. Quite often, he unintentionally becomes the enemy of social and financial guilds. And within the church, all is not relationally peaceful for this minister. Consistently he must deal with foolish brothers, sinful brothers, divisive brothers, false brothers, and false teachers.To some he is a sweet aroma of salvation, but to many more he is the stench of death.
Additionally, Paul’s body is falling apart. Perhaps it is the number of days on the road. Perhaps it is the beatings. Perhaps it is old age. But whatever the cause, Paul’s physical stature has seen better days.
And in addition to his relational and physical difficulties, great emotional trauma is regularly experienced by this man of God. He is afflicted, persecuted, and struck down. He is not crushed. He is not driven to despair, but he is quite often troubled within.
And why does Paul live such a life? He is willing to suffer and carry on so that:
- The worshipers of Christ may be increased.
- The worship of Christ may be increased.
Therefore Christian, one simple question is at hand, “Are we willing to suffer to increase and improve the worship of Christ?” The Heavenly Father was willing to suffer to increase and improve his worship. Christ suffered with this end in mind. Paul led the way in this regard. Today, are we willing to suffer physically, relationally, and emotionally to increase and improve Christ’s worship?