“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 Corinthians 6:3-10
I love this excerpt from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, as difficult as it is to truly contemplate. It’s challenging and convicting and entirely contrary to the tendencies of our human nature. It is a picture of completely laying oneself down for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of all who desperately need it.
In the opening of his letter to Titus, Paul declares his purpose in this way: “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness” (Titus 1:1). This was the resounding theme of his Christian life. Determining to align all of his actions, all of his words, every piece of his life, with this aim. He fixed his eyes on Christ and set out to make himself a servant to all, to become all things to all men, in order to save some.
For the sake of the faith of God’s elect, for their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness, Paul was willing to endure everything. Because he knew that Jesus was a treasure worth giving everything for. Paul even makes the statement that if he could, he would give up his own salvation for the salvation of others (Romans 9:3). This was the heart he had for those who didn’t know Christ.
This is the heart we are to have. This is the urgency we are to feel for the gospel of Christ. We should understand that this life is not about us. We can get so wrapped up in our own lives and preferences and comforts that we just don’t think about the broken and lost surrounding us. We allow purity, kindness, genuine love, and righteousness to fall by the wayside, because life just seems easier that way. We stop fighting the fight of faith and begin to settle for a complacent life.
Let us choose, this day, to stand firm once again. To declare that our God is worth the sacrifice, and that His elect—whether they know Him yet or not—are worth fighting for. Let us do all that we can, sacrifice all that is needed, so that no obstacle is put in anyone’s way. A lack of righteousness and purity in our lives may affect many more than we realize…because it impacts our hearts in ways we can’t see. It draws us away from Christ and clouds our heart, and we are less able to recognize His voice and sense His Spirit’s leading.
Our Lord is great, and we are not alone in the fight. He has given us all that we need for godliness, to live a life that is pleasing to Him and filled with faith and righteousness. So let us fix our eyes on our Savior, trust in His strength and changeless character, and determine to walk steadfastly with our Lord.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9