Friday, July 22, 2011

Stepping Up!

2 Corinthians 6:3-13

     We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry. In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We have faithfully preached the truth. God’s power has been working in us. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us imposters. We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

     Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you. Our hearts are open to you. If there is a problem between us, it is not because of a lack of love on our part, but because you have withheld your love from us. I am talking now as I would to my own children. Open your hearts to us!

     Paul always considered what his actions spoke to others. He lived in a place where he understood that one wrong decision or one questionable action could cause just one person to be turned against the truth about Jesus Christ. He goes on to list actions that he considered to be vital in proving his allegiance to his Savior and to his call as a minister of Christ. If we are believers in Christ then we are also ministers, whether we choose to accept that fact or not. Let’s take a closer look at this list of actions to see if we are patterning our life after our forefathers of faith and living up to our calling as ministers for Christ.

          1.    Patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind
           2.    Been beaten
           3.    Put in jail
           4.    Faced angry mobs
           5.    Worked to exhaustion
           6.    Endured sleepless nights
           7.    Gone without food
           8.    Prove ourselves by:
                     a.    Our purity
                     b.    Our understanding
                     c.    Our patience
                     d.    Our kindness
                     e.    Our sincere love
                     f.     The power of the Holy Spirit
           9.    Have faithfully preached the truth
          10. God’s power works in us
          11. Use righteousness as our weapon
          12. Serve God whether people:
                     a.    Honor us
                     b.    Despise us
                     c.    Slander us
                     d.    Praise us
           13. We’re honest
           14. Well known
           15. Live close to death
           16. Beaten within an inch of our lives
           17. Always have joy
           18. We’re poor
           19. Give spiritual riches to others
           20. Own nothing
           21. Have everything

      So, how does your life as a Christian compare to Paul’s? Being a Christian is the most phenomenal lifestyle you and I could ever experience, but to believe that we will never experience anything negative in our life is a lie from Satan himself! In the American Christian culture, God has blessed us beyond measure even to the point that we are like spoiled children. One flat tire, or one hour without electricity sends us into a temper tantrum, whining and crying to anyone that will listen to our pitiful plight. I believe that God is attempting to empower a people that will go forth in His name regardless of the circumstances around them, a people that will believe that they are more than conquerors through Christ, in every situation! Rise up and be all that you were created to be!

What do your actions speak to others? Have you ever considered the fact that you are a “minister for Christ?” Having that label placed on you, would you live your life differently? Take some time today to seriously consider the fact that you are a minister. Ask God to reveal to you some actions that you may need to change, in order to step into that role more effectively.

Have a great day!

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