We have a somewhat humorous phrase that runs through the guys in our small group.
When a brother is transparent with his struggles and challenges, when he opens up about the war within, he’s often met with the response: “Man, I’m encouraged.”
Though his knee-jerk reaction may be to tackle the responder, we’ve all come to understand what this implies: The Body of Christ is built up in faith and courage when transparency prevails and burdens are bared together.
Here’s Paul’s take on burdens from II Cor. 4:7-12:
v. 7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
- Jars of Clay aren’t perfect, flawless or photoshopped. Jars of clay are an intentionally humble vessel for the sole purpose of showing that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
- God allows burdens and suffering into your life so when people look at your life, they are not wowed by your spiritual abilities, but by God’s grace flooding through your life.
v. 11-12 – For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
– Your trials produce courage in the body of Christ. How? When you deny your flesh and the ‘death of Christ’ is working on you, the ‘life of Christ’ is made visible in your walk. Remember, Christ calls us to deny ourselves, and follow him? Not only is this being a living sacrifice (Rom. 12), and giving our Savior lordship over our lives, but it has a didactic purpose as well: it teaches other believers how to do the same.
In your trials, in the killing of your flesh…as the guys in our small group would say, ‘be encouraged!’. Your obedience during trials strengthens our faith.