Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:16 – 6:18
…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
When we come to believe in Christ, when we repent of our sins, God does a work in our lives changing us from who we used to be into a new person. He does this not just for our sake but because He has a plan for our lives and He wants to make us into exactly who He needs us to be for His purposes. And what is His purpose for our lives?
This weekend I went to Red Carpet Days at Olivet Nazarene University with the teens from our youth group. At the Saturday morning session, JP Troglio spoke to us saying, “You are purposed to do something great…Occupy the moments when no one is looking and…Do what you were purposed to do!”
And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him…So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18b, 20-21).
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it (2 Corinthians 6:1).
This statement hit me really hard. Take a second to read it again. Paul is begging those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation to not be guilty of being the recipient of God’s kindness without being willing to extend God’s gift of salvation to others. We have been saved to serve!
Paul goes on to speak of how our lives can be an example of God’s ability to take away the old life and make someone into a new person. Others can witness the change in our lives and our devotion for God and be drawn to God through our lives.
We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.
We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us.
We are honest, but they call us imposters.
We are ignored, even though we are well known.
We live close to death, but we are still alive.
We have been beaten, but we have not been killed.
Our hearts ache, but we always have joy.
We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others.
We own nothing, and yet we have everything. – 2 Corinthians 6:3-10
Wow, Paul’s testimony is written here to encourage the Church in Corinth but it is very much encouraging me today. I want to be all of these things! Today this is my prayer. If it is yours, please pray along with me.
Heavenly Father, my desire is to live in such a way that others will be drawn to you and that no one will stumble because of me. I want to live above reproach, a life of excellence that no one can find fault in. In everything I do, I want to be a TRUE minister of yours. When troubles, hardship and calamities of every kind come my way, please give me the strength to patiently endure them. When I face accusations, when I am persecuted, when my heart is so burdened that I have difficulty sleeping at night, may others still find in me purity, understanding, patience, kindness and sincere love – not by my own human effort but as a result of the Holy Spirit living in me.
Lord, may my life be more than just an example for others to see but may I also be bold with my words, faithfully preaching the truth. I accept your task of reconciling others to you. I long to be your ambassador so that you can make your appeal to the lost through me. Fill me with Your Spirit and give me the boldness to speak for you – “Come back to God!”
Oh, awesome and mighty God, work your power in me. Place weapons of righteousness in my right hand to proactively go to battle for you and for your lost children. Place weapons of righteousness in my left hand so that I may defend the truth and defend those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). Whether people honor me or despise me, whether they slander me or praise me, even if they falsely accuse or ignore me, I want to live boldly for you today.
Lord, I own nothing. It’s all yours. I trade all that I have for all that you have to give me. You are my everything and I love you. Amen.