2 Corinthians 4 – Renewing the Heart

Our Sunday School’s study of 2 Corinthians continues. I can’t help but think adult fellowship classes are like an overlooked treasure, a valuable antique that has been shoved to the back of the attic. Few people recognize the value but those who do are richly blessed.

In Sunday school we have time to dive into the scriptures and study God’s Word. The superficial “Sunday” smiles and hello/how-are-you’s are replaced with genuine relationships as people gather week after week. There is time for sharing prayer requests and lifting each other up before the throne of God. There is laughter and conversation (and occasionally baked goods).

It is obviously a sacrifice of time to attend Sunday school class as well as the church service and it can be difficult for children to be in the nursery or classroom for two hours. But, but, but, what an amazing opportunity to learn more about the Bible, to read, discuss and apply a passage; to have an hour of fellowship with other believers. Over my years in the church, I have been blessed to see hearts knit together and lives changed in the faithful practice of Sunday school attendance.

sarah looks at the pretty flowers

Sarah reaches for a flower.

This week we looked at chapter four of II Corinthians. We had an excellent discussion on the hope we have in Christ and how we carry around His life in us. At one point Ray (our wonderful guest teacher for the day) had us read the passage in the role of prosecutors and defenders of Paul’s ministry. That certainly sparked some lively conversation and challenged Ray’s ability to keep the class on track. :)

There is such a richness and depth to this chapter. At the end of the class period, I was wishing we had more time to further study, ponder, and apply the verses. I was particularly convicted by a verse near the end of the chapter.

2 Corinthians 4:16

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. (ESV)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (NIV)

The aging process is unavoidable and often unmerciful. No matter how hard we search for an eternal youth (with medicine, plastic surgery, lotions and potions) we can not keep death and decay at bay.

Outwardly we are wasting away.

And yet, and yet, Paul says we do not lose heart. Why not? Because inwardly we are being renewed.

sarah's new hat

This verse grabbed and held my attention as if the Holy Spirit had taken a highlighter and marked my Bible. Would the Lord say this is true of me? Am I becoming more and more like Christ every day? Am I being renewed and changed and transformed? Do I focus on my struggles, difficulties, and the aches and pains that come with my aging body or do I look at the “eternal glory that outweighs them all.”

Do I settle for an ordinary and complacent Christian walk or do I live and run with the “all-surpassing power” that belongs to God?

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Lord, give me eyes that look for Your eternal glory, a heart that is renewed every day, and a mouth that speaks of Your good news.

Project 365 – Day 154

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5 thoughts on “2 Corinthians 4 – Renewing the Heart”

  1. I must admit, I don’t understand why so many Christians neglect adult Sunday School. When we first moved to our current home and were looking for a church, several of the churches had no Sunday School program for adults at all.

    I’m reminded of the scene in one of our favorite musicals, The Happiest Millionaire, in which the brothers are checking over one of young men who comes to call, desiring to court their sister. “So, what weight do you fight at?” they ask him. Discovering that he doesn’t box, one brother gasps, astonished, “He doesn’t do it at all?” and the other mournfully, shaking his head, agrees: “He doesn’t do it at all.” As it turns out, this is a fatal flaw among those who would date their sister, Cordelia. They launch into a song remembering the fate of several prior suitors who failed to keep their guard up, or failed to ‘bob and weave’ or even, perish the thought, lead with their left. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    I shake my head sadly at churches who have abandoned the practice of adult Sunday School — “They don’t do it at all?” In my (admittedly biased) thinking, this is one of the most important programs of a church, and I strongly encourage anyone who is not currently involved in such a class to find one and join it or start one if necessary.

    Enough of my soap box. What really struck me about this chapter was the way that Paul refers to his troubles as ‘light and momentary’. This, only a few verses after he describes his situation:

    We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

    One of the reasons I really admire Paul is because of the way he kept his eye firmly on the goal set before him — he didn’t allow earthly cares or troubles to distract him from the prize of standing before the Lord and receiving his commendation.

  2. I wonder how many churches have Sunday School. We’ve only attended 1 church that offered Sunday School before church and that was 20 years ago or so…

  3. I agree Tim…Alot of emphasis are on small groups these days. Though these groups do provide ways for people to connect and build a sense of community. Many groups have “Bible Studies” but only a few “Study the Bible” (from my experience) Sunday School is a great place to begin one. That’s one reason Holly and I enjoy it so much!
    I was struck by the same passage too! (2 Cor 4:17-18)
    I love the way “The Message” phrases it…

    17. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 18. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

    BTW – you would make a great Trial Lawyer…Tim!

  4. Cynthia – you are right, most churches don’t seem to be offering adult Sunday school any more. As Tim said, we had to search hard to find one that had classes. Even still, our church only has two that meet regularly and they are only attended by a small number of people. I’d love to see more people participate in Sunday school classes and more classes offered at church.

    Either way, I’m very thankful for the additional opportunity to study God’s Word on Sunday. It’s exciting to examine the scriptures with other believers.

  5. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. ”

    This has really struck me in the past few months too. It is such a message of hope and encouragement for me.


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