First things first, we’ll finish off reading 2 Corinthians this week and read chapters 8-12 for next Friday. Now for my take on chapters 1-7…
One of the first verses right in chapter 1 seemed to say it all to me at first. Verse 12 says, "that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God". Loved it. But then, just what does ‘in simplicity and godly sincerity’ mean exactly?? I think Paul explains a lot in the next 6 1/2 chapters. For me it’s a WOW. It’s something we all know and I’ve learned before, but each time I learn it it’s more real and more personal.
This review is all about the greater purpose. No matter what we may be going through, good or bad, God is working out His eternal plan and that’s all that matters. The point is that I don’t matter, God does. These chapters seemed to work together for me to bring me to a point where nothing matters but giving God glory. That’s not an easy attitude to keep hold of. It’s purely the Spirit’s power if it stays in my heart for even a second or two. But if I could just keep this attitude it would change the way I live completely.
Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to realize just what there place was in Christ. If they were going through good times and living for the Lord, they could praise Him and help those going through rougher times. If they were being hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down it still was all working for a greater purpose and in God’s will, and they would then be able to sympathize and comfort others more having experienced pain themselves. God knows what He’s doing and I just forget constantly that there is that huge spiritual battle going on and I’m part of it.
I think the movie Facing the Giants said it really well. (If you haven’t seen that one yet what are you waiting for?!) One of the great quotes from the movie is, "If we win we praise Him, if we lose we praise Him." All that we can do is give God %110 and leave the results up to Him. We can praise Him when we win and when we lose only when we recognize who He is and keep in a close enough relationship with Him so that we are more concerned with spiritual matters instead of temporary earthly pleasures that take up most of our time.
I found 4:11 to be a big verse for me. "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." That word ‘always’ is what stuck out. It made me nervous to think that if I really am saved I can count on being delivered to death. Death hurts. Then for a moment the fact of dying to myself is exciting because God would be doing His work in me, and then that thought flickers away as fast as it came yet again and I start feeling desperate to clutch on to something, anything, and try to take control again. I believe Paul wanted to warn the people against getting into this rut and getting their focus mixed up like me. That’s why he told them to "not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Life is so much bigger and deeper than I know. I feel like I’m barely starting to scratch the surface of this whole life in Christ thing. I’ve got a long way to go.
And of course I’ve learned a whole lot more from these chapters than what I’ve written and have the pages of written notes to prove it, but I would have you asleep if you aren’t already. :) I love Book Review Friday and the fact that there are a bunch of other ladies out there excited about reading their Bibles too. Can’t wait to see the reviews on Mr.Linky. :0)