Wednesday: Psalm 96-100; Deuteronomy 21.1-14; 2 Corinthians 4.7-18

From: Ryan Ruffing

The picture of the faithful life drawn for us in 2 Corinthians 4 is incredibly beautiful and incredibly challenging. Paul describes a manner of life which is so fully rooted in the hope of God’s coming kingdom, that caution can be thrown to the wind. When I read his words, I at once long for more of the life he describes, and I’m terrified of it.

The members of the church at Corinth probably faced a lot of the same struggles we do. They had placed their faith in the risen Jesus, and found themselves very much at odds with their surrounding culture. They lived in a well-educated, cosmopolitan city, and like so many residents of such cities past and present, they probably didn’t like to be thought of as fools. And yet they had begun to know the love of God in the person of Jesus, and that changed everything for them. Some started to speak the name of Jesus to neighbors and coworkers, and perhaps they were derided or laughed at—perhaps they lost heart.

Paul speaks a very clear word to them—do not lose heart. Yes, maybe you’re facing persecution, yes, maybe every outward circumstance seems to be against your Christian calling—but, there is a greater reality, a greater fact of history that speaks the definitive, unequivocally affirmative word over your life in Christ’s way. The kingdom of God is coming, and your courageous acts as citizens of that kingdom, though they appear like the actions of a fool to this world that is wasting away, they are ultimately the flowers of spring, signs of life, and signposts toward the abundant kingdom of God.

So, we speak the name of Jesus, we put our lives, our reputations, our wealth on the line for the sake of our neighbor. And, we do not lose heart.

I am married to Libby and live in JP with our kale plants.