Do you have your eyes on what is happening internally? Do you know that in all of the circumstances of life, in all of the things you go through, God is renewing you inwardly? He is building within you a new character, a new life, and a new personality, one that will exist for eternity. That is why this is all so important. If our life began at birth and ended at death, thinking about the future would just be absurd. As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, "If I have fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die' " (1 Cor. 15:32). But if we are eternal creatures, if we are going to live forever in one state or another, then what is happening to us now makes all the difference in the world.

In considering ourselves as clay jars, what matters is whether or not we make that vessel available for God to use. Your life is a vessel, and you can hold it back. You can say, "No, I want it for myself. I want to fill it up with the wisdom of the world. I want to fill it up with fame, prestige, and money." If that is what you want to fill your life with, that is what you get. And because all those things are perishable, what your life contains perishes when you do.

Sometimes people talk to me after the church service. Some people say to me, "You make it so simple, so easy to understand." I am pleased with that because we are not in the business of trying to sound profound. Our job is to make it as clear as we can. Some say, "Well, I read it, and it isn’t all that clear to me." That is true. These are God’s ways, not our ways. What we need to do is have the darkness in our minds dispelled, and the fog in our thinking removed, and then we will see things clearly as God presents them to us in his Word.

In defending his ministry, Paul said there are three things he did not do. First he stated that he had renounced "secret and shameful ways." When Paul used the word "shameful," he generally used it to refer to sexual sin. In his usage here, he is probably thinking of the way the missionaries of the various mystery religions in his day went about their business.

In our last study we focused on the glory of the Christian Gospel. I called that message, "The Greatest Thing Happening Today." That is because of what God is doing in the lives of people through the Gospel. The fact that people turn from sin, find forgiveness, and are renewed and transformed by God’s power is literally the most important thing that is happening in our time.