This is a devotion that comes from 2 Corinthians 6:3-13
The Priority – 3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.
Evaluate your life and behavior and see if this is true for you. Do you live in such a way that people will not stumble because of what they see? While no one is perfect, we are expected to strive toward a lifestyle that is honoring to God.
The Pain – 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.
The point here is that Paul demonstrated that he was an authentic follower of Jesus, he was a true minister of God. He then gives a few examples of his behavior: enduring troubles, hardship and calamity (beatings, prison, angry mobs) and faithfully worked through all of the stresses of his radical obedience to Christ (exhaustion, insomnia, starvation).
The Patience – 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 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.
Paul again was simply a man of words, but he proved the kind of person and minister he was (purity, understanding, patience, kindness). He was not able to do it in his own strength, but by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of sincere love. He preached the truth in season and out of season, in good times and hard times. He was a faith soldier in God’s service: he could attack the forces of darkness on one side and defend against our common enemy on the other.
The Paradox – 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 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. 10 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.
Much of the Christian life is a paradox: to save your life, you must lose it; to be first, you must be last; to be great, you must serve others. Paul is listing several lesser known seemingly contradictory statements.
The Parent – 11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!
Paul speaks to the people as a loving parent: kindness, openness, in love even when love has been denied. This passage screams the desire of a parent over a wayward child.
Here’s My Take-Away: We know that hard times will come. The light that we shine to others reveals our faith in God. Our faith can persist even in the face of hardship. It is a demonstration of faith to trust that the Lord is good. When bad things happen, the last thing we want is to be patient. We want to hurry up and move past our troubles. This is the time that God has been preparing us for, and we have the opportunity to grow closer to God. If you are in trouble or in the middle of calamity, muster your patience one day at a time. Live a life of integrity no matter what comes your way!