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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

Today I'm reading 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 from J.B. Philipps paraphrase.

    1-2 As co-operators with God himself we beg, you then, not to fail to use the grace of God. For God’s word is—‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you’. Now is the “acceptable time”, and this very day is the “day of salvation”.
   3-10 As far as we are concerned we do not wish to stand in anyone’s way, nor do we wish to bring discredit on the ministry God has given us. Indeed we want to prove ourselves genuine ministers of God whatever we have to go through—patient endurance of troubles or even disasters, being flogged or imprisoned; being mobbed, having to work like slaves, having to go without food or sleep. All this we want to meet with sincerity, with insight and patience; by sheer kindness and the Holy Spirit; with genuine love, speaking the plain truth, and living by the power of God. Our sole defense, our only weapon, is a life of integrity, whether we meet honour or dishonour, praise or blame. Called “impostors” we must be true, called “nobodies” we must be in the public eye. Never far from death, yet here we are alive, always “going through it” yet never “going under”. We know sorrow, yet our joy is inextinguishable. We have “nothing to bless ourselves with” yet we bless many others with true riches. We are penniless, and yet in reality we have everything worth having.
   11-13 Oh, our dear friends in Corinth, we are hiding nothing from you and our hearts are absolutely open to you. Any stiffness between us must be on your side, for we assure you there is none on ours. Do reward me (I talk to you as though you were my own children) with the same complete candour!

Paul felt it was necessary to defend himself against the false teachers of Corinth who were denigrating his ministry and his authority as an Apostle. Our sole defense, our only weapon, is a life of integrity. And his resume included the many times he was  persecuted or he had to suffer for his faith. No phony would go through what Paul went through. That's what brought credibility to his ministry. 

The motto that hands over the gate of the Navy Seals base in San Diego reads "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday." Paul knew what that meant, and he had the kind of inner will, persistence, to keep going no matter what. 

Do we have that kind of dedication to the Gospel? Or do we fold up shop at the first sign of opposition? Do we ever face any kind of serious opposition? Not much when compared with what Paul went through. 

If you find yourself in hot water because of your faith in Christ, well, you're in good company.


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