Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Several things bear mentioning about this wonderful verse. The first is that the previous context in verse 14 (which explains the therefore) says “…knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.” This is the reason that we can therefore not lose heart.
It is because of our hope of the resurrection that we can deal with our perishing outer man. This perishable body begins slowing down as soon as it hits its prime. Sometimes far sooner. I have many friends with many ailments of many kinds. I’m sure you do too. You may have some of your own. This verse tells you that you have reason to not lose heart. This body is going to be replaced with one that will not perish. This is the hope of the resurrection, and it is this hope which should be our ballast when we are tossed with cares over this outer man of ours.
Meanwhile, our inner man is traveling in the other direction. It is prospering, being renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated day by day. Imagine a chalkboard with one line traveling down, which represents the state of our bodies, and another line traveling up, which represents the state of our souls or inner man. This should cheer us right up. We can certainly get distracted and discouraged by the state of the outer man, but we should be encouraged by the state of the inner man.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t pray for healthy bodies and healing from sickness. It simply means that we should keep our perspective in it all. We should be encouraged by what God is doing on the inside. In fact, when the outer man is acting up, we should use it as a reminder of what is happening to the inner man.
But what if you don’t feel renewed every day? Then pray for renewal. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and control you throughout each day. Ask God to renew your mind through His Word and feed on it daily. A transformation is in progress. Just as our bodies are gradually changing, so are our souls. Though we see one with our eyes, we see the other by faith. Be glad for the hope we have, and do not lose heart.
4 thoughts on “February 15: The Outer Man”
These thoughts were so encouraging to me: just hours after reading this post, I was struck by a wave of grief. I have spent 17 of the last 19 months pregnant; in between, my infant daughter died suddenly. I have felt that I have been sad, have not made great strides in advancing my earthly pursuits, and have had trouble keeping up with life with two other small children who are with me every hour of every day. I am rejoicing this morning that despite my suffering and my worn body, I am inwardly being renewed. Thank you for this vivid reminder!
Ruth, I’m so sorry for your loss!
Jeremiah 29:11 was one of many scriptures that was a balm for my spirit when I lost my babies through miscarriage.
I will pray for you.
A beautiful reminder, thank you.