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 impostors. 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!
In everything he did, Paul always considered what his actions communicated about Jesus Christ. If you are a believer, you are a minister for God. In the course of each day, unbelievers observe you. Don’t let your careless or undisciplined actions be some person’s excuse for rejecting Christ.
What a difference it makes to know Jesus! He cares for us in spite of what the world thinks. Christians don’t have to give in to public opinion and pressure. Paul stood faithful to God whether people praised him or slandered him. He remained joyous and content in the most difficult hardships. Don’t let circumstances or people’s expectations control you. Be firm as you stand true to God, and refuse to compromise his standards for living.
“Our hearts are open to you” means that Paul had told the Corinthian believers his true feelings for them. Clearly revealing how much he loved them. The Corinthians were reacting coldly to Paul’s words, but Paul explained that his harsh words came from his love for them. It is easy to react against those whom God has placed over us in leadership, rather than to accept their exhortations as a sign of their love for us. We need an open rather than a closed heart toward God’s messengers.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from
the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ? 1996. Used by
permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois
60189. All rights reserved.
Filed under: 2 Corinthians