Profitable Affliction

by Dennis Michelson
(Painesville, Ohio)

II Corinthians 4:16-5:10

Introduction: "Nobody knows de trouble I've seen." Is that the way you feel? Are you tempted to express the sentiments of that old spiritual? The Scripture speaks to the contrary - "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are . . . ."

What about Paul? How did he view his trials and persecutions? He sums them up in 4:17 - "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

This entire passage points out how it is possible for the outward man to perish while the inward man is renewed day by day (4:16). Again, the principle of strength perfected in weakness is illustrated.

How could Paul call his afflictions "light"? The answer can be found by looking at Paul's response to affliction.

1. "We faint not" (4:16)

2. "We look not" (4:18)

3. "We know" (5:1)

4. "We groan" (5:2)

5. "We are confident" (5:6)

6. "We walk" (5:7)

7. "We labour" (5:9)

8. "We must appear" (5:10)

If we faint in the day of adversity then our strength is small. When we stand strong and firm under affliction then His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

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