v1-2 - Chapter four continues on the theme of chapter three, which ends with the reminder that we "are being transformed into Christ's image with ever-increasing glory."
Because this is true, we must stay motivated to continue living as Christians.
The world has and will always try to persuade the church to use other means and methods besides the Word of God, but we must stand firm.
v3-6 - It's frustrating when so many people can't see the truth of the gospel that appears so plainly to us, but when that frustration comes, remember that those who can't see are victims of the "god of this age [who] has blinded the minds of unbelievers (v4)."
When rejection comes, you're not the one being rejected, rather it's Christ.
Be thankful that God has "made his light shine in your heart" so that you can see what so many others have been blinded to (v6).
v7-18 - Nobody would store valuable treasure in fragile jars of clay, but yet that's exactly what God has done, in order to remind you that "this all surpassing power" comes from Him, and not you.
Maybe you've been part of a team that was getting hammered in the first half of the big game, but then after an inspiring halftime speech by the coach, charged out into the second half and won the game.
This chapter makes a terrific halftime speech for our Christian lives. Can't you just imagine after a rousing reading of verses 7-12, the whole team running back out chanting in unison the words of v18:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: Remind yourself of the story of Gideon in Judges 7:1-25 to see how God reminded Gideon that his strength came from the Lord and not the size of his army (as a bonus, see if you can find the other tie-in to 2 Corinthians 4).
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In this chapter, what phrase does Paul use to describe the one who has blinded the minds of unbelievers? (See verse 4.)
What things in this chapter do you think non-Christians would find hardest to understand?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God who said "Let light shine out of darkness" who has made His light shine in your heart (v6)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will continue to strenghthen you so that you "do not lose heart (v16)."
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: