The Outward Man and the Inward Man

“Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Some of the most profound devotional thoughts ever written are found in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.  For example, he writes of the outward man and the inward man.  He declares the value that the inward man is a greater value than the outward man because the outward man is temporal, but the inward man is eternal.  He labels the outward man a little clay pot, a perishable container, a common earthenware jar, and a tent that is folded up when we die.

When he writes these verses, Paul gives great consolation to those of us who are older and to those who are suffering the ravages of illness. Old age is not for wimps.  Neither is a long debilitating illness like being a bed fast quadriplegic for decades. However, by personal experience, I can resonate fully with what Paul has written here.  I have learned to be grateful for anything God directs or permits in my life that grows my eternal inward man, which is a greater value than my temporal outward man.

C. S. Lewis believed that “The clergy are those particular people within the whole church who have been especially trained and set aside to look after what concerns us as creatures who are going to live forever.  Life was not meant for pleasure only, nor for ease, but for discipline. Not for temporal, but for eternal values.  Not for the satisfying of a life here on earth, but for the development of a life for heaven.”

Hold in perspective the reality that God is continuously shaping us down here so we will fit in up there.


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