Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 29 May 20:
2 Corinthians 6:3-10 — We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
How do you rejoice while enduring hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger, slander, dishonor, poverty, and sorrow with patience, kindness, genuine love, and even joy? Only by being overwhelmed by the grace of God, being crucified with Christ and raised to new life in Him, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. This sort living isn’t natural, it is supernatural. A positive mental attitude, positive self-talk, and resolute willpower are valuable but not enough. Moses wasn’t humble enough, Solomon wasn’t wise enough, and Peter wasn’t courageous enough; nor are you sufficient in your own virtues to live the life that can only be lived in Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
To prove the point, just consider how well on a daily basis you live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” This seems impossible — “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
With Bible commands such as, “Fear not…. Resist…. Endure….” etc., we are tempted to attempt to muscle our way through it, relying on our own strength, rather than the power of God, and our natural abilities rather than the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Where we appear successful, we tend to glorify ourselves rather than God, and we become vulnerable to hubris and sin. On the contrary, when we rely on the power of God and demonstrate virtues beyond our natural abilities, He is glorified, and we remain rightfully humble, which also produces grace in us (forgiveness, generosity, and genuine love towards others) as well as increased faith and hope in God who continues to demonstrate His love and faithfulness in our lives. Walk in the Spirit.
– Galatians 5:22-26 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 May 20: Seek to walk in the Spirit today rather than solely in your own abilities. Journal your experience.