“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”
~II Corinthians 5:3-10
What did you learn from meditating and pondering this passage? Did the Holy Spirit open your eyes to any new insights, truths, and revelations? I’d love to hear them in the comments section! In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at these eight key attributes of a faithful servant of God.
Last week, we looked at what it meant to be ambassadors of God. And while we discovered our duties, responsibilities, and mission through that study, we were not given a practical example of what faithful service as an ambassador of God looks like. But never fear, this week we’ll spend both studies closely examining an amazing example of faithful service in the life and testimony of the Apostle Paul. We’re going to be looking at a lot of qualities, attributes, and characteristics and yet, we won’t have time to cover everything. Nevertheless, let’s see some of the things Paul has to share with us about faithful service as God’s servant.
The United States has over 200 ambassadors representing them in over 150 countries. The duties of an ambassador are to accurately represent their homeland through their actions, words, and values, and to build relationships with the foreign country they are sent to. They are a vital part of our nation’s international relations and truly hold an overlooked and undervalued role in our government and world-wide influence.
Now take all that we just learned about ambassadors and apply it to your own life. Why? Because we are ambassadors of Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God,
who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
~II Corinthians 5:17-18
This is probably one of the most well-known passages in II Corinthians. Filled with much hope, encouragement, and truth, these two power-packed verses have touched and blessed many. However, we generally see or hear these verses out of context and, thus, don’t always understand the full weight of what Paul was saying when he penned them. So let’s take a closer look at II Corinthians 5:17-18 in context with Paul’s heart-to-heart letter and see what it means and what new truths we can learn from this timeless passage.
DUI. Driving under the influence. It’s the leading cause for automobile accidents in the United States. Many have been injured or killed by those driving under the influence. Why? Because substances like alcohol and other drugs impairs the ability to think and, in many ways, takes over and begins to control the person. Many do not realize what they are doing while under the influence and/or cannot remember what they did later on. That’s the power and influence of things like alcohol and other drugs on a person—it controls their actions and thought processes.
In a similar way, we ought to be controlled by Christ’s love. While driving under the influence and the control of addiction substances is not a positive example, I believe it is a powerful illustration of how something can control us. But instead of being governed by alcohol or drugs, let’s be controlled by Christ’s love. As Paul shares in II Corinthians 5:14-15:
Have you ever noticed how fast the human body starts deteriorating? Or how susceptible we are to little things like viruses, bacteria, and deadly toxins? Too much of one little thing could kill us or at least make us extremely sick. We hit our physical prime around the age of thirty and get to enjoy it for about five to ten years until we begin the downhill slope, also known as the aging process. Not very uplifting, is it?! In fact, it’s downright depressing. However, this is the truth of the matter.
But the good news is that this is not the end of the story. Our earthly body, or as Paul says in II Corinthians our tent, is just a temporary home. We are not destined to stay in this broken, weak body forever. God is waiting to give us an eternal home that will not be destroyed or found wanting.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 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.”
~II Corinthians 4:16-18
As many of you may realize, this passage is one of my favorites as evidenced by the title of this blog, So I Fix My Eyes. It’s a passage that has really ministered to my soul over these several years and has become a vision and mission in my life. So I could not go through this II Corinthians study without taking a moment to ponder, discuss, and meditate on this powerful passage.
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