Life isn't cute, but Jesus is life + 2 Corinthians 4:16 screensaver

If you spend any time at all on Instagram or Pinterest (as I do), you'll scroll past lots of cute saying about life--what matters, what it's supposed to be like, and how it's supposed to be lived.

"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become."
"Your only limit is you."
"Be your own kind of beautiful."
"You are enough."
We scroll and absorb and then when real life smacks us in the face, we wonder what in the world is wrong with us, or the people around us, or with God even.

Dallas Willard, in his book, The Divine Conspiracy, says about trying to live your life by cute slogans and mantras: "Absurdity and cuteness are fine to chuckle over and perhaps to muse upon. But they are no place to live. They provide no shelter or direction for being human."

That's why Jesus says to build our lives upon the rock of the Word of God, on how HE says a human life is to be lived (Matthew 7:24).

I was reading these verses in 2 Corinthians this week and encouraged in what I should expect of life:


"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 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 we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2Cor. 4:7-12, 16 ESV)

"For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2Cor. 5:2-8 ESV)

Do you see here the paradoxical (I like this word which means something that seems contradictory, but is actually true) nature of our life in Christ?

For a follower of Jesus, full of the treasure of the life of Jesus through the Spirit, it is normal to be:
afflicted
perplexed
persecuted
struck down
carrying in the body the death of Jesus
given over to death for Jesus' sake
wasting away outwardly
groaning
burdened

For a follower of Jesus, full of the treasure of the life of Jesus through the Spirit, it is also normal to be:
not crushed
not forsaken
not driven to despair
manifesting the life of Jesus in our bodies
renewed inwardly day by day
prepared for glory
filled with the Spirit as a guarantee
always of good courage

This tension of real life in Christ doesn't fit easily into a slogan, does it?

Scripture affirms both our struggle and our hope. And these two we hold in tension until we're "at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).

If I expect to achieve some magical state of non-struggle in this life, I'll (paradoxically) struggle even more:

I'll question my standing before God--"What am I getting wrong?"

I'll doubt His goodness--"What is He withholding from me?"

I'll judge you in your struggles--"Why can't she just be okay?"

Also (paradoxially), if I accept this ongoing tension, I find I can better deal and experience God's peace right in the middle of it--and not lose heart.

In Christ, there is daily both life and death. I don't understand it all, but knowing this truth encourages me today, and I hope it does you too.

Please use this month's screensaver to remind yourself to not lose heart. You can click on the image below and save it to your phone.






*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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