Monday, September 14, 2009

In trials, and in tribulations

II Cor. 6:4-10: “4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

In spite of all the things that these early preachers went through they still acted like men of God. Whether in tribulations or imprisonments Paul and his preacher friends behaved with the utmost seriousness. Paul considered his role as an apostle of Christ an honor and a responsibility. He would live with excellence in his life. He knew that Jesus died for him, as Paul would call himself, “the chief of sinners”. He knew the life that Jesus had called him out of and daily pursued to live better.

Paul and the other Christ-followers during that time endured a tremendous amount of persecution and trials. Beatings, imprisonments, sleeplessness, and sorrows, were just some of the things that they endured, all the while conducting themselves the way Christ-followers should act. Even though many believers are not “professional” clergy, we Christ-followers are all ministers of Jesus Christ. With that said the trials that we go through should be used as a witness for the world around us. The way we behave during trials can encourage other believers during times of stress and discouragement. Trials can be a witness to those who are not Christ-followers to display the love of Christ. When we go through extreme trials and act as those who have faith, it is an encouragement for those who are watching us.

The qualities we should display are the very same qualities that Paul mentions here; patience, purity, kindness, love, the power of God, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit. So that when we go through the trials and tribulations we can be strengthened. Even if it appears that we are losing everything, even our lives, we are living a powerful life. Even though we are poor, we are rich, possessing everything. Our lives are not defined by things and possession, they are defined by the relationship we have with God, who enables us to connect with the people around us.

– As Christ-followers we will go through trials and tribulations, yet are called to live a life of excellence.

Challenge – Live our lives in such a way that honors the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross.

Tomorrows Readings:
Old Testament: Proverbs 28-29 New Testament II Cor. 7

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