30 April ESOCS devotional
TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 12:1-10
“Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Corinthians 12:10
Today, Apostle Paul takes us through an important lesson. He reminds us that Christianity is made up of two sides, just as a coin. It has times of joy and times of sorrow. Of the two, he derives greater joy in sorrows. His life was filled with “infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake” and he said “I take pleasure” in them. He did not run away from any of them; rather, he welcomed and embraced them all. He saw them as the spices in the ministry, and in the Christian race. They are part of the Christian experiences we should expect in our life as Christians.
Here, we need to work on our mind-set in order to position ourselves properly in our expectations. We cannot have it well with us all the time. Yes, there would be moments of exceeding gladness when everything tends to work out in our favour. However, there are also times that evil, pain, grief, and the like creep into lives. Job said to his wife, “….Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”(Job 2:10). At such moments, we should remain strong in the Lord and endure to the end. Troubles times are the times we could truly measure our degree of faithfulness to God. As Christians, and like Paul, we should understand that trials, temptations, and tribulations are laid out for us to make us strong, and not to weaken or makes us fall.
In one of their missionary journeys, Paul and Barnabas went about “Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and [telling them] that it is through many hardship and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God”(Acts 14:22). There is no other way; it is the way of the Lord, and His will for us. Therefore, when we are in such moments, let us not murmur or make any charge against God. We should behave like Job. The Bible says concerning him, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips”(Job 2:10).
Many Christians expect respect and honour. They are often highly offended at the slightest show of disrespect against them. But that attitude is not in agreement with practical Christian experience. Our Lord Jesus Christ was both dishonoured and dehumanised. We should not expect a better treatment, unless we are not true believers. The Apostles and Disciples suffered degradation and shame multiple times. The Roman soldiers often beat them with horsewhip and dehumanised them. They remained faithful to the end. We should do likewise and not expect anything less. If we develop such a mind-set, we would be able to stand strong in moments of trial and temptation; and like Paul, we would begin to take pleasure in them. We would be training our minds to adapt to the ways of God, and not our own ways.
√ How should you react in trouble times?
30 April ESOCS devotional: PRAYER POINT
√ Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you continually.
√ Judges 14:1-19; 15:1-19; 2Corinthians 12:11-21