The Spiritual Perspective

When reading the book of 2 Corinthians, you quickly pick up on the very strong, spiritual perspective that Paul had on life. You also quickly realize that Paul faced many difficult persecutions and trials in his life. Chapters 4, 6, 7 and 12 very clearly portray this idea. The following snippets are several ways that Paul wrote of their trials:

“We are afflicted in every way…perplexed… persecuted… struck down.” -from chapter 4

“We are treated as impostors… as unknown… as dying… as punished… as sorrowful… as poor… as having nothing.” -from chapter 6

“For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn – fighting without and fear within.” – from chapter 7

What afflictions and trials Paul faced! Though, as we consider these words, we realize that this is the way of every Christian. Every follower of Jesus Christ will be persecuted and tried for their faith in Christ. As it says in 2 Timothy 3: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

If you finish the phrases that I share above, you will see that Paul was not in despair through all his hardships. Absolutely not! Through it all, he had a spiritual perspective in his trials:

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2Cor. 4:8-9

“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 Cor. 6:8-10

” For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” -2 Cor. 7:5-6

Paul could say that even though he was dying, he was really living! Because in Christ we have eternal life (John 17:3). Even though he was poor, he was still making many rich because the Gospel is the true treasure on earth. He had nothing, and in reality he possessed everything – having Christ as his own!

How did Paul have such a good perspective through all his adversities? I believe that the key verse is 2 Corinthians 5:7 –

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” Trials, difficulties, and pain will come in the Christian life, yet when we walk by faith we are looking to God, believing that He is working through it all. That is how we can have joy through our trials. That’s why we can praise the Lord even in the midst of immense difficulties. That is how you can say the following with Paul:

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18