Paul was extremely concerned about the Corinthians, and he was also extremely frustrated with their treatment. He had poured so much into them and now they were treating his advice and encouragement shabbily. Paul was simply laying things out. He asked them for nothing and wanted them to understand that the commitment to the mission was at no small price.
Paul was a pharisee; he was meticulous about the matters of law. God then used Him to be the expert for salvation by grace. What an irony. What is more, this Jew of Jews was the missionary to the Gentiles. That, as we learned yesterday, was not a big jump, as God was clear that he wanted His chosen to be a kingdom of priests.
Still in the midst of the amazing transformation and life change, Paul set out to change the world. He had been very effective, but at great personal cost. The scripture speaks of the beatings, the imprisonment, the sleepless nights, and constant danger. In a word, Paul was clear that walking in God’s plan was not easy.
In our lives, We really are blessed. We experience our own trials and struggles, but the truth is that God protects, prepares, and provides for His chosen. When we focus on the struggles we face, we can quickly lose sight of the countless blessings we have received as well as the opportunity we have allow God to complete His plan in our lives.
We must never give up or give in to the enemy’s drawing us into a cycle of selfish fear and consternation. Fear is a liar and the enemy loves to use fears and lies to render us useless and defeated. We need only to rely on the Holy Spirit to fill in the gaps and to speak truth as the world and fear scream hate and lies at us.
If we seek the Lord, He will direct us to live in the eye of the chaotic storm that swirls around us. We will also be able to pick ourselves up and continue to move forward through whatever lies ahead.
God Bless You
As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation, I helped you.”[a]
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.