Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16
It is a natural assumption in life that we become battered on the outside like a ship in a violent storm – this is why Paul uses such dark pictures as “wasting away”. This means to perish or grows old – becomes weak and feeble.
By the natural course of life, the press of trials and tragedies assault our outer shell until it eventually cracks and breaks down. This is the outer man, the house of your soul.
Body and soul
We tend to mistakenly assume that what happens to us on the outside must also happen to us on the inside.
Yet when you look at Paul’s experience, there was always a definite disconnect in that what happened to the body was not what was happening in his soul. Even though Paul knew outwardly he was wasting away, inwardly there was something unconquerable occurring on the inside.
In 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul was outwardly “troubled on every side,” inwardly “not distressed” – Outwardly “perplexed,” but inwardly “not in despair” – Outwardly “persecuted,” but inwardly “not forsaken” – Outwardly “cast down,” but inwardly “not destroyed.
The point to be made is this: What happens on the outside of us does not have to reflect or define what is on the inside. For some, it’s easier to separate body and soul issues that it is for others.
Yet the Bible makes such a division. Even though we are holistic beings, what happens to one part of us does not have to define the rest us. For example, you can get an evil thought, a thought you didn’t manufacture and you wonder, where is this coming from? The short answer is that satan drops thoughts in your mind the way he inserted a seed thought in Eve about what God said. Yet how often does something like this happen to us and we immediately assume this is who I am or this is the condition of my heart.
It’s human nature to ignore what we don’t see (our souls) in favor what we do see (circumstances). We ignore the “treasure in jars of clay”. Paul spoke of that eternal deposit that will never decay. We forget that the words of John when he said: “His seed abides in us”.
It is in this eternal reality God wants us to live in.