Week 35, Day 3
August 31, 2022
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6
“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 6:3–10)
Our new life in Christ empowers us to face incredible trials and difficulties.
That’s Paul’s message to the Corinthian church, and it echoes to us. Despite the beatings, imprisonments, the sleepless nights, the great trials that we may face as Christians, there is hope. There is comfort and strength that guides us forward knowing that God is greater than all of it. Through the power and love of God, we may face death with courage. Through the power of God, we can face evil and difficulty knowing that God is with us.
We do not hear what we think we want to hear. That is, that a new life will be easier and filled with riches. Rather, Paul teaches us that despite that good and bad, the ups and downs, no matter the circumstances, salvation is now. The circumstances won’t get easier, necessarily, but the strength and deliverance has come. You know how your story ends when Christ is writing it. He will draw you to Himself.
We are delivered from sin and death. The old is gone. Paul seems intent on helping us see that the new life in Christ is a present reality in the midst of this life. We live with our eyes on Christ now. The coming reality is breaking into our present reality.
This worldview is what has been commonly referred to as “Now, but not yet.” We have the new life in Christ and his Kingdom now, but it is not yet fully here. That tension with the world, with suffering and evil, well it isn’t easy. But Paul’s words give us the courage here to look at the world during the good, the bad, and the beautiful and the ugly and see that Christ is with us, his power carries us, and his presence comforts us.
Live to the new life now. It is here.
Is Christ writing your story? If so, you know how it ends. Life with Him.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.