I think this morning I could go on and on about the Lord and the triumph that we have in Jesus Christ. Pat is not feeling well, and that has concerned me and made it a bit tough to focus, but I have been praying for her while she is resting on the couch and looking at His Word in old Journal entries.
How wonderful is the truth in God’s Word? What wonderful peace is found simply letting go and putting focus into seeking him. Pat encouraged me just to let her rest and focus on my normal routine, so that is what I have done.
I continue to pray for Pat this morning and also for guidance and focus; turning from worry to trust in Jesus. I went through some old journal entries and stopped on one that I had done a year or so ago.
This entry was almost all in 2 Corinthians. It covers chapters 2:15-5:9, but as I read I also thought of K-Love’s verses for today from Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
What comfort there is in these words. What peace I find in them. In Christ are my peace and comfort. In Him rests my hope.
2 Corinthians 2:15-3:3
Let me start with Chapter 2 verse 15 through Chapter 3 verse 3. Paul defines who we are in Jesus, and it is great comfort this morning.
15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Ministers of the New Covenant
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
I read this passage over and over again. And I thought about it and meditated on it. As I reflected on what Paul was saying and I thought; is my life a letter from Christ written with the Spirit, for those who testified to me. The ones who prayed for me and delivered the Gospel to me. Do I show that I am “a letter of Christ” delivered them? Am I sharing the message of Christ with others as they did for me in confident hope?
I continued with verses 4-6, and I remember that what Paul is saying has nothing to do with pride but with hope and love and confidence in Jesus. Do I dare to be this bold? Do I have that same confidence in Christ Jesus?
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
I know that I am not sufficient in myself. I know that my strength comes from the Lord. Paul is writing this to the entire Church at Corinth, not just the leaders; not just the “preachers,” but everyone. As I reflect on this, I am convicted.
He goes on to discuss the Hope we have in Christ and the boldness we have because of that and the difference in who we are.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I get caught up in thinking how much God has changed me from the inside out. How He has begun this great work in Pat and me and the freedom it has brought. My trust is in the Lord, and I am filled with thanksgiving.
And that sets up the “Therefore” in Chapter 4:1-6
The, “Therefore” – 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
And my favorite part…
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
That is my desire. I do not want to be a preacher like Paul. What I want is to carry in my heart the wonderful message Paul shares. I want to carry the truth of Christ Jesus in my heart inside this fragile “Jar of Clay.”
To never forget the gifts given us regardless of our circumstances and remember the words of verse 7.
“7But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
And Paul closes the chapter with these words that are my testimony. They lift me up on the darkest days. 4:16-18
Fragile Jars of Clay
16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I cannot put into words what comfort this passage brings to me… other than to say how I know it’s truth is unwavering. For every time I have a challenge God reminds me that it is fleeting. That does not mean it does not hurt. Sometimes the pain is intense; it can be physical or emotional, but I am never alone. God is there to see me through. He uses the people around me, especially my wonderful wife, Pat.
The thing is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ fills us with a freedom that exists nowhere else. I look at Paul’s example of humility, and I pray that when I share the Gospel with others, it may be in like spirit, filled with love and patience. The Gospel is not a burden that we carry. It is a gift that the Holy Spirit shares with us if we are willing and through us, He shares it with others.
I will close with this last passage out of chapter 5 verses 6-10
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
I give thanks to God for His Holy Word. I praise Jesus for His willingness to pay my debt and the Holy Spirit to guide my heart. What a plan God laid out for us. How awesome is He?
Heavenly Father thank you for your Holy Word and the comfort that comes with it in all circumstances. Help me that I might share your Word with boldness and confidence, not in my strength, but in the strength, that you give through your Holy Spirit.
Father, I pray for healing for my wife Pat and all those that are struggling with illness or loss. I pray that you restore them and comfort them.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen