“as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NIV
What a life! What a way to live. The Apostle to the Gentiles, was up for anything for the sake of his Lord and Master. He has suffered all these indignities for the sake of his Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel. These sufferings and hardships have built his character and made him patient and kind and Christ-like. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:16 that’s should imitate him. He must have been so confident in Christ to say such a thing.
What have you experienced in your life for the sake of God? Not the outworking of the outcomes of our own sinfulness, but difficulties undeserved and unasked for. We should have comfort from what we have experienced and see the work of the master-builder in our lives. He is building a monument of His grace that others will see and praise Him and want to follow too. We are to be abiding witnesses to the saving power of God and the constant reminder to those around us who stumble and fall, that there is a God who saves.
It is hard not to hit back. We should turn the other cheek and not retaliate or cause a fight unnecessarily. We stand for Christ with resolution and fortitude. We speak against injustice and the horror of people’s inhumanity to other people. We should do something about it too. Faith without action is no faith at all.
As a Christian I must be involved and not standing on the side-lines, observing what is happening. I am constrained to take part in life and mix and draw close to other people. People need Christians in their lives, but am I strong enough to handle it? Maybe we are too weak and puerile to stand the rigours of life in this world… too many hunker down in a safe refuge of a church and have no spiritual vigour or stamina to stand up in the world.
Am I an obvious witness to the saving power of God, or just a “nice” person? Do people wonder at how I carry on and realise it is nothing to do with me..! To know His power in our lives is liberating and totally transformational. We really can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; that by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren , I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:10-14 KJV
How far will you let the Lord Jesus into your life? His hand is on the latch. Will you open it, or be too scared of loosing everything. You will loose it all and gain all. You will loose your sin, failure and inabilities, and gain all of Christ. It is worth having him, there is no one else, and we cannot hang on to what we think we have got. We will loose it all if we try to hang on. Open the door, open your heart, Christian people. Do not hold back, or you will miss it all.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
Isaiah 43:18-21 NIV
We are set apart for Him alone. No one else can suffice for us. We are lost, lonely and hungry apart from Him. Get back on the altar today and find again the shepherd and Lord of you soul. Open you heart wide and let the Holy Spirit fill you with His good things, bringing you again back to Christ and knowing again that God is the Lord and you Heavenly Father loves you…