ĎWe do not lose courage.í Paul repeats his words from the end of verse 1. He had known the kind of experiences that would cause most people to lose courage (verses 8-9). However, he insisted that he had no proper reason to be in despair. God was working powerfully in his life (verse 6). Paul trusted God (verse 13). Paul knew that, after the death of his body, he would be with Jesus in heaven (verse 14). He considered his troubles slight because God was doing such wonderful things for him (verse 17). So Paul remained loyal to God and he continued to declare Godís message (verse 2).
Paul distinguished between what he called the Ďinner maní and the Ďouter maní.
By the Ďouter maní, he meant the human body. Daily, he saw and felt that his body was suffering*. His troubles were both serious and constant; he only expected them to end with the death of his body. Even if these severe troubles did not continue, he would certainly die one day. Paul understood that really, the human body is very weak.
However, Paul insisted that the human spirit is much more important than the body. By the Ďinner maní, he meant the spirit that each person has. If a person has a right relationship with God then, at the death of the body, that personís spirit will go to heaven. However, the personís spirit is very important before death, too. When a person has a right relationship with God, Christ is present and active inside that person, in their spirit*.
That was what gave Paul strength in such difficult circumstances. Paulís strength came not from himself, but from Christ*. Every day, God was at work in his life. Every day, the Holy Spirit gave him more life and more strength*. Paulís body might be dying daily*; but his spirit was daily receiving the kind of life that never ends.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.