“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 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.” (2 Cor. 6:2-10 ESV)
Wow! The things Paul and his ministry buddies went through for the sake of the Gospel! In an age when we’re distracted on all sides, it’s hard to imagine anyone being this resolute for a cause (a cause, that is, that doesn’t just fatten one’s wallet or stroke one’s ego).
But that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Paul didn’t have to keep himself “pumped up” to stay the course through the harsh obstacles he faced. God was there, working through His Word and the fellowship of believers, keeping Paul on track as he leaned on his Maker to get him through the tough spots.
Paul isn’t saying, “Look at me!” in the hardships he cites. He’s saying, “Look at Him in whom I’m grounded.” He knew how God had appeared to him on the Damascus road and had transformed him from a persecutor of the church to a proclaimer of the Gospel (see Acts 9). And he knew this same God was present in every circumstance, empowering him to face each day in faith, regardless of yesterday’s ordeals. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14 ESV).
And as for you and me? This is our victory song, too. When life bombards us on all sides, step back; catch your breath. By faith in Christ, you have been changed, redeemed from the world so you can let others know that today, this day, is the day of their salvation.
Paul said it best when he wrote,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the great endurance You give us to share Your Son with others. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Do you know anyone who would have pressed on in the face of all the troubles that Paul encountered?
2. What does Paul mean when he says, “Now is the day of salvation”?
3. How has God entrusted us with the “message of reconciliation,” and what are we supposed to do with it?