Journal Entry // August 17, 2022
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 13:11
The manner of loving your neighbor is summed up well in this verse Paul uses to close out 2 Corinthians. There are four objectives we should keep in mind as we live in this world among so many varying people and cultures and personalities and spiritual awareness: restoration, comfort, agreement, and peace. We would do well to keep this at the forefront of our mind as we engage with people on a daily basis. This not only includes the people we see and are face-to-face with regularly, but also the people we may never meet and only hear about through the news, books, or sharing of stories. How we love people demonstrates our understanding of the love of Christ in and for us. How can we profess to be followers of Christ and have the Spirit dwelling and at work within us, when these four principles are not evident and on display. We should demonstrate our love for Christ by aiming for restoration, comforting one another, agreeing with one another, and living in peace.
Continue reading “Qualities of Humility”
Journal Entry // August 16, 2022
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 12:10
For the sake of Christ… It is always great to find special moments in God’s Word where small pieces of the mystery come together in my mind. This is one of the moments for me. Granted I know that I have understood that the motivation behind all of my actions should be for the sake of Christ. I know that my every step, word, and deed should be focused completely on Christ alone. I find it disconcerting that I can so easily veer off track and begin to make even my good actions and intentions more about me than about Jesus. I have been thinking a lot about contentment and humility as the Lord continues to bring these opportunities into my life. What I am realizing this morning is that I have drifted a bit from the centrality of Christ in my humble contentment. I can see where I have allowed myself to let some pride and self-focus take hold even of my humility and contentment. I make my contentment about me as I focus on myself instead of Jesus. Paul is telling me that even my contentment is for the sake of Christ. I am to be truly content and not just put on a face of happiness or joy before everyone and myself, but I am to be content for the sake of Christ. This is my motivation. That is where I will find peace and joy. Not in the contentment itself, but in the person and work of Jesus.
Continue reading “Truly Content”
Journal Entry // August 15, 2022
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 11:30
What does a life of humility look like? It is not boastful or proud but rejoices in weakness. Doesn’t this seem so set against our normal way of thinking and acting? This is antithetical to all the world teaches and tells us about how to live a happy life. It completely goes against the standard that is set forth as the pattern for success in this world. Everyone is expected to lift themselves up and put their best foot forward. We are expected to boast and revel in our strengths and to hide our weakness. More than that, we are expected to hide our weaknesses to the point of even denying them or spending time working on making them stronger. Then Paul tells us that if he must boast, if he is required to boast that he will only boast in those things that expose his weakness. He will only boast of those things that the world finds repugnant. Why? Simply because the power of Christ is made perfect in our weakness. Our weakness is our strength. Our weakness is the key to humility leading to loving obedience to Christ in all things.
Continue reading “Proper Boasting”
Journal Entry // August 12, 2022
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 10:3
What is the misunderstanding that we all make as we make our journey through this world in the light of the gospel of Christ? It is typically that we will often wage war according to the flesh. What I mean by this is that we want to be obedient in our actions as we walk in the flesh and demonstrate our love for Christ through this obedience. This is absolutely good and right. If we love Christ, we will obey his commandments. Where we fail is that we aim to do this through the flesh and not the Spirit. We are led by our self-righteousness and make judgements about others without any consideration of their heart and the leading of Christ through the Spirit. We wage war with the world and with each other according to the flesh using our own understanding as the arbiter of righteousness instead of the Word of God.
Continue reading “Heart Engagement”
Journal Entry // August 11, 2022
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 9:8
There is a lot going on in this short verse found in a discussion about generosity and giving with thankfulness. The fullness of God is what Paul is reiterating and emphasizing so that we don’t miss the point. That point being that our God is the Lord Almighty and he is the giver of all good things. Look at the fullness Paul describes: ALL grace abound, ALL sufficiency, in ALL things, at ALL times, EVERY good work. This is not the way we often think about our current situation and the provisions that God has given us. We often grumble and complain and bemoan the circumstances and situations that we are in. We often look at other people and see how richly God has blessed them as opposed to our meagerness. We don’t really take this verse to heart and truly understand that God is able to make all grace abound to us. All grace. Not just a few drops, but an overwhelming flood of grace that will bring us to our knees in thanksgiving and praise.
Continue reading “Abounding & Sufficient”
Journal Entry // August 5, 2022
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (ESV)2 Corinthians 4:7
These jars of clay, a representation of the frailty and weakness of our bodies, have within them the most precious and costly treasure, the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ. Our bodies, which are prone to corruption and the effects of sin, are the chosen storage vessels of this most important and beautiful message. My weakness is on display all the time. This simple jar of clay is so fragile of a vessel for the Spirit of God to abide. Yet, God chooses to unite himself with his children and inhabit the heart of these weak and frail jars of clay. This naturally leads us to ask the question, “Why?” The answer is simple enough. The display of God’s strength and surpassing power is on display in the lives of these weak and frail jars of clay. The weakness of my flesh allows for the power of Christ to be at work and on display daily in my life as he pours out grace and mercy into my heart and works this same grace and mercy through me into the lives of others.
Continue reading “Jars of Humility”
Journal Entry // August 4, 2022
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (ESV)2 Corinthians 3:17
Freedom… The Spirit brings freedom to the lives of those where he abides. What is this freedom that the Spirit brings? It is freedom from the slavery of sin. It is freedom from guilt and shame. Where the Spirit resides, there is now no condemnation for that person. The Spirit brings the glory of God to live in the hearts of men and women enabling them to say no to sin and yes to obedience. For this is truly the freedom of which is mentioned here. The freedom to obey the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Freedom to choose the good and reject the evil. Freedom to live a life of humility and obedience to the Lord. Freedom to love God and love people in righteousness and purity.
Continue reading “Holy Freedom”
Journal Entry // August 1, 2022
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (ESV)2 Corinthians 1:9
Faith, hope, trust, dependence, humility, meekness… These are the marks of the believer that follows Jesus by taking up his cross daily. In this journey of faith, there is a continual process of teaching by our Father that reinforces our understanding of our need for humility and reliance upon Jesus. Pride is the central consuming characteristic that is antithetical to all things holy. Pride is the root of our downfall and what keeps us from the comfort that only Christ can bring. Pride taints every area of our life and drives a wedge in our relationship with Jesus. Our Father brings suffering, adversity, trials, and difficulties to not only show us the depth of our sinful pride but to make us rely only on the one true holy God. Our difficulties are here to drive out pride and humble us. Simply to bring us to our knees and seek repentance through faith and to set our hope on Christ alone.
Continue reading “Humble Trials”