2 CORINTHIANS 7:5-7 – For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.”
THEME OF THE DAY: INSTRUMENTS FOR THE MASTER’S USE. When looking at the life of the Apostle Paul many things stand out to encourage, as well, as model for us. One in particular is his transparency. Read his letters to churches and individuals and we find a believer who shares his heart with vulnerability, sincerity, and authenticity. Today’s scripture is a great example. He shares his physical exhaustion from his ministry effort. He also shares the spiritual battles darkening his soul (downcast) and producing fears, outwardly and inwardly. From such a life, two things to learn.
First, don’t be afraid to be a vulnerable, transparent, sincere and authentic Christian. This means “taking our shoes off” and being real. Share the highs AND LOWS of walking with Jesus. Don’t be guarded and stay in a “spiritual cocoon” out of fear of people’s opinion or even rejection. The Bible only knows one type of Christian; the real one who enters into spiritual relationships with other Christians of genuine openness.
The other thing to learn from the Apostle Paul’s “open book life” was the acknowledgement of his need for other Christians to be instruments of God’s grace and comfort to him in time of need. In today’s scripture, he recognizes such an instrument for the Master’s use. It was Titus – But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
Paul’s example begs the question . . . “Does he describe us?” The world needs to see authentic Christianity defined by the Bible, not our own understanding or desires. This means a life willing to take the risk of love by entering into the lives of others sharing the messiness that defines life under the curse. Without this type of Biblical practice, the world cannot see the genuine Christ among or from us. But there is something else. Remember, Paul had a Titus to lift up his downcast heart. And the call of God upon us is to be “Titus-like” in our relationships with other Christians; instruments for the Master’s use bringing comfort and encouragement. Such a life begins with pursuing to be such instruments – So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21).
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see my life is not my own, bought by Your Son, I live for the good and service of others.”
QUOTE: “Instruments of comfort and grace. That is what God calls us to be, not sometime, but all the time.”
Because of Him,