2 Corinthians 4:16
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
Paul couldn’t have said it better. Our life on earth drags at us, ages us, weighs us down with responsibilities and stress, and can even force us into depression and anxiety. Things weren’t much different when Paul was writing–life was still touch and go in most of the small villages and towns he visited, and in most of the new churches he was helping to start. People struggled day to day to exist, let alone think or worship.
That’s why Paul sought to encourage people (here, the people of the fledging Corinthian church) not to let their faith flag or falter. He knew times would be hard for them, but he nurtured them by talking about their earthly selves as the “outer self,” and the spirit as the “inner self.” While their earthly selves could and would be vulnerable to fear, doubt, guilt, pain, rage, and hatred, God could directly touch and renew their inner selves, their spirits, because they believed in Christ’s power to save and forgive their sins through His sacrifice. Because they believed in a just and loving God, they could trust in Him to help them through the sorrows of their lives, and therefore, they would be rid of worries and guilt a lot sooner.
God does the same for us, if we stop worrying, fretting, and squirming long enough to let Him be part of our lives. For me, God’s Word was hard for me to get into at first, but since I began studying it closer (especially as part of my “Wednesday in the Word” segments on this very blog), I have found myself becoming heartened by what I read. Just as God renewed David’s strength, just as He encouraged Abraham, just as He reached out through Jesus to comfort the woman convicted of adultery, He can hold our souls in His hands and heal them.
But we have to be willing to trust Him completely–otherwise, we’re lulled into believing that we’re strong enough to handle everything in our lives. Then, we become trapped by our own self-sufficiency, and we forget that God is there…and then, we stop believing He exists because we don’t feel Him in our lives anymore. Paul reminds us not to forget that God is there, and that God is ready, willing, and able to renew us spiritually, to help us stay heartened and encouraged despite the problems we face.