Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
I came across this passage last week. It struck a chord with me, and I thought I would share it with you as well. Here are a few things that stood out to me:
1. God’s grace comes on the heels of hope. We must remember that God has promised to listen and to help us… in His timing. We sometimes get frustrated with God for not hearing us or for not caring, when in reality, He is simply waiting for the right time. Patience coupled with hope will be our saving grace.
2. Our goal as Christians is to be more like Christ. Look at the section in blue above. What a list! Notice that endurance is listed on one end and righteousness is on the other. I think this section addresses the idea of contentment. We must learn to be joyful and thankful in whatever the situation we find ourselves in. We won’t always be happy or always have all our desires fulfilled, but if our perspective is right, we will have a peace that is beyond understanding.
3. Spiritual contradiction…What a difficult concept to live out. The Scriptures are full of seeming contradictions. We must live by faith and not by sight, and with heaven as our focus. The rewards for living this way are eternal.
4. God has promised us freedom in Him – freedom in truth. We are only restricted and held-back by the choices that we make. We must guard our hearts and live by truth, even when our emotions and feelings tell us otherwise.
Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp44p10-16-13