“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” – 2 Cor 4:16
Every day our outward man perishes. Our lives can be painful and mentally tiring. As we stumble home from work our bodies ache and our minds can not think of anything except all of the chores that must be done.
When the unexpected happens to disquiet our lives, our outward man takes more beatings. How do we continue? Paul says our inward man is renewed day by day, but how?
He is not talking about physical renewal, or even deliverance from our problems. He is talking about strength of the inner man which comes from knowing things.
“…be renewed in the spirit of your mind…” – Ephesians 4:23
What knowledge brings us strength to continue through the struggles and pains in our flesh? The answer is the knowledge of the hope of glory.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” – 2 Cor 4:17
The glory that you will experience in the future will be incomparably greater than the suffering you are now going through (Rom 8:18). God lives in glory, and he says your current afflictions are short and light.
The athlete looks at the prize and the worker looks to the paycheck. We who trust in Christ have a greater hope. It is the knowledge and constant thinking of this coming glory that gives strength to the inner man.
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” – Eph 3:16
Paul felt more than the daily grind gnawing at his outward man. He faced real perils like stoning, stripes, persecutions, death, and other very mentally discouraging troubles. If his mind stayed focused on the outward success of his ministry he would’ve crashed and quit years before. By all temporal accounts Paul was a failure.
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Cor 4:18
Instead he learned to look at the things not seen and eternal. These are only known by faith. He had faith that Christ had purchased for him an eternal weight of glory (Col 1:27).
This was called the mystery of Christ and Paul was trying to make the riches of this glory known to all men (Eph 3:9). This hope of glory is able to renew the most downtrodden believer.
Our Daily Renewal
While in America we do not come close to Paul’s level of outward man persecution, we benefit from the same hope of glory as he. Follow Paul’s pattern and read 2 Corinthians 4 for renewal day by day.
We should not ignore the troubles we face. Our outward man really is perishing, but with the knowledge of the mystery of Christ we can use this present perishing to remind ourselves of the far greater hope of participating in God’s glory.
We can think about how it will feel and how wonderful the rejoicing will be. Ponder about the eradication of evil and the reign of righteousness. Consider the new immortal and glorious body you will have (1 Cor 15:42-53).
Then, in prayer thank God for renewing your mind with sound doctrine and for being strengthened through Christ (Phil 4:13).