"We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;
as unknown, and yet well known;
as dying, and behold, we live;
as punished, and yet not killed;
as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
as poor, yet making many rich;
as having nothing, yet possessing everything."
(2 Corinthians 6:8b-10 ESV)
I am no theologian, so I could be totally misreading this passage. Either way, this passage screams gospel to my heart. I feel on a daily basis the first portion of each of these lines as my reality. My sin proves them true. Satan deceives me to believe so. And the world around us proclaims them loudly. It can really bring me down.
But these are only earthly realities at best. They are redeemed and conquered by a far greater eternal reality: the cross. Christ's substitutionary death for each one of us covers every sin, every persecution, every attack, and every feeling of inadequacy.
Life is hard, no question. And, the calling to follow Christ ensures suffering and pain. Paul got that. What allowed him to hold such a perspective of victory amidst trials of defeat? He looked backward in faith, and forward in hope.
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)
Let's pray together our every thought, word and action may be shaped by these awesome truths.