7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
History and Context:Corinth was a city on the main trade route between Asia and western Europe, and Paul had spent two years there establishing the church. Paul wrote the first letter to the Corinthians in order to address division and immorality in the church. After that letter he had an opportunity to visit the church. Apparently the visit was a difficult one for both Paul and the members of the church and afterwards Paul talks about writing a letter in "much anguish" (ch 2). Though this letter is only the second letter to the Corinthians which we have, it seems that Paul wrote at least four separate letters and that this is the fourth. This is his follow up after the difficult visit and the letter of 'tears'.
Paul often seems to be defending himself and his calling in his letter to the Corinthians. He continually declares that his ministry has been done, not through his own talents and wisdom, but through the power of God. Here Paul mentions the earthen vessels, referring to our bodies, and how the power that is in these vessels is of God and not of us. Because this power of God is living in us we can go through many difficulties and continue to get up again and continue on strong. We can be struck down and simply get right back up, we can be hard pressed, perplexed, and persecuted, but we will not be stopped and we will not be destroyed. This is because the very life of Jesus Christ lives in us and continues to restore us.
Remember who is living in you. You have the very same power that raised Christ from the dead, the power that conquered death, hell, and the grave, living inside of you. You are filled and consumed with the Spirit of God and His power is there to help you live the life that God has for you. He will lead you and direct you, He will lift you back up, and He will be there for you. Don't forget that and don't take Him for granted.
Lord, we pray for your power in our lives. Lead us into your plan and purpose. Give us the power to fulfill that plan. In Jesus' name, Amen!