A L O O K I N T O T H E A P O S T L E ' S H E A R T
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.
“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
This section may seem boastful and arrogant on Paul’s part, but that’s not the case. Here, Paul reveals what a 100%, fully yielded life looks like. He gives us a job description and a standard for what we—as servants and ambassadors of God—should live up to. We are representatives of God to the world around us; therefore, we ought to be able to commend ourselves in every way.
Sadly this is not always the case. I was just talking with someone who left the church due to the obvious and blatant sins of those who represented our holy God. Now, this individual wants nothing to do with God, based on the actions of those representing Him.
Now I know that we all sin--daily—and that no one is perfect. However, it is sobering to realize the power our life has in turning people on or off to the gospel and a personal relationship with the King of kings. We are ambassadors, representatives of a holy, Almighty God, so may we be careful to represent Him well and accurately.
But what does that look like? To answer this question, let’s go back, and look at the list Paul gives us and how he commends himself to everyone in every way.
There are so many things Paul lists here, but the phrase that popped out to me was:
“…by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God.”
While we most definitely can show people the sufficiency of God by enduring suffering graciously, I think these eight attributes are even more powerful as a witness and testimony to God’s life changing work.
So this week, think and ponder these qualities. And next time, we’ll come back and take a closer look at what they mean and how they apply to our lives.