“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
II Corinthians 4:10, 11
What benefit is there in our problems? There are several equally true answers to that question, but this passage clearly brings out one of them. Our trials have a way of bringing us to experience the death of our natural abilities, bringing us to the end of our sufficiency, that we might experience the ability and all-sufficiency of Christ in our lives.
We all will face hardships, and those difficulties may come in several varieties. Paul spoke of being troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down. In spite of all that, we know that we are never forsaken, left alone, or without hope. We can always know that God is using our trials for our betterment. As these various forms of adversity come our way, they have the ability to introduce us to our inadequacies. Then, we are able to recognize the sufficiency of Jesus in our circumstances. The more this “death” works in us, the more His life is “made manifest in our mortal flesh.” At the same time that death is working in us, life is working through us toward others.
It is helpful for us to understand this part of God’s program for our lives. His ultimate purpose includes taking us to be with Him in Heaven one day, but it involves much more than that. When we are saved, a part of Heaven comes to dwell within us through the Spirit of Christ. God wants to manifest, both to us and to those we come in contact with, how His Spirit can equip and enable us. However, one of the factors that hinder His working through us is our own sufficiency. When we are capable of handling the affairs of our lives, we tend to do things in our own ability or power. But, God in His wisdom knows that when we have problems larger than ourselves, we will be motivated to let Him work through us.
Dying to self and learning how helpless we are can be painful experiences. We sometimes fight to maintain our sense of control and self-confidence. However, it is only in dying that we learn to live. May we not despair in our times of testing. When we think it is more than we can bear, we can know that the end of our sufficiency is the beginning of His.