2 Corinthians 6:3-10
“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.”
Make real to me Your Word Lord. I am listening. I’m having trouble seeing what you want me to see in these verses. Help me. You are forgiving and good, abounding in love to those who call on you, Psalm 86:5. I am calling on you. Please show yourself to me. I desire to hear from you. Please reveal to me the mysteries and secrets of your word.
I believe Paul, in this portion of his letter to the Corinthians, is speaking about living in a way that is above reproach. He starts verse 3 by saying “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” Live in a way that no one sees your ministry and decides to write it off because they see the “other side” of your life stile. Ministry is not a job or an opportunity to volunteer. Ministry is a lifestyle. And Paul is urging the Corinthians to live in a manner that leaves no question about who they are living for. He continues, “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way,” and then continues on in a long list. The key word there is every way. Do I live above reproach in every way? In great endurance in troubles, hardships and distresses? Thankfully I have not had to endure beatings, imprisonments and riots, but I pray to the Lord that I would count it joy to suffer in that way for his namesake. Continuing on, do I live above reproach in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger? In purity, understanding, patience and kindness? In the Holy Spirit and in sincere love, in truthful speak and in the power of God? I’ll tell you right now, no I don’t. I fail daily to do all those things. I operate in my flesh instead of the Holy Spirit. I trust in the power I think I have on my own instead of the power of God. The question wanders through my mind, though I already know the answer, “How?” How do I live above reproach? The simple answer is Jesus. Look at the life of Jesus. Flawless, in every way. Jesus is the epitome of what this group of verses talks about. After Paul speaks of living above reproach in all these ways, he exhorts the Corinthians to do so not just when it’s easy. He says through glory and dishonor, bad and good report. Even when regarded as a fake; when regarded as unknown. Not just when it’s easy Paul says. Though all these things, live above reproach. Live in away that backs up your claim of ministry. This is difficult. It has to be a daily cry to the Lord for me. Asking God for the weapons of righteousness that Paul mentions in verse 7. I want to live in a way that leaves no question who I serve. That leaves no question of what kind of man I am. That leaves no question of why I claim one thing and live another. I want to live a life that can be an example to others. Not for my own glory, though that is a fight every day, but for the glory of God. My name is under Christ. Those who know me know this. If I’m not living in the way Paul speaks of here, I am giving Christ a bad name. I am misrepresenting my creator, my friend, my Savior, my God. That is the last thing I want. I want to live exemplifying Christ
Application: God help me live with integrity in every aspect of my life, no matter what. Not just when it’s easy, not just when it’s rewarding, not just when it’s for my benefit, but in every way, all the time.
How: Today I wrote some words from Psalm 86:5 on my hand so I can remember the verse. It says, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” When I don’t live above reproach, when I mess up, when I slip off the path, He forgives me. He brushes me off with his love, cleans me with his blood and gets me back on me way. Every time I see this verse today I will be reminded to call on my Lord and Savior to help me live in a way that is above reproach, in a way that truly honors him. I cannot do it on my own.
Thank you Lord for your promises. Thank you that you are forgiving, good, and abounding in love to all who call on you. Love you Lord.