Encouraging Words

Today’s reading:  2 Corinthians 4

I’ve had several interesting, and occasionally frustrating, experiences navigating the politics of corporate America this week.  While today’s text in 2 Corinthians 4 was written for the purpose of encouraging Corinthian Christians who were confronting false teaching, not for corporate politics, I still found Paul’s key messages applicable.  May I share with you his encouraging words?

  • Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Corinthians 4:2).  God commands us to be honest in all situations, anything less is sin. Manipulating God’s word is false teaching.  Deception in human interactions also erodes trust, inhibiting us from experiencing meaningful relationships with others.
  • For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5). Paul’s teaching always pointed to Jesus, it was never about himself. Messages that don’t align with God’s word and don’t point people to Jesus are false teaching. In contrast, putting aside our selfish ways, serving God and loving others can bring joy and fulfillment in even the most challenging situations.
  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:7-9). In our times of weakness, God’s strength can sustain us to stay the course. These times are opportunities for him to demonstrate his power. If we accept him as Lord, he will never abandon us.
  • So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). Our short life on Earth is not all we have. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can look forward an eternity in the presence of God. One that is free from pain and suffering.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).