Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
2 Corinthians 11:23, NIV*
The Corinthian believers have been listening to trendier leaders than Paul, and while those leaders may have a better delivery they aren’t delivering the truth. In this passage, Paul is reminding these Christians of his “credentials.”
His litany of sufferings prove he’s serving Christ—to the point of enduring persecution. But he’s not talking like a victim, nor a beaten-down fighter.
Instead of “poor me” he’s boasting about this. Not that he’s proud of the suffering as such. He’s saying “See how much Jesus trusts me—He knows I’ll keep focused on Him, and others will hear.” And “See how good He is to sustain me and to advance His kingdom even when its enemies throw everything they’ve got.”
That’s what happened in the jail in Philippi when Paul and Silas were singing praises to God. They showed how to “rejoice in the Lord always.”
Praise and thanksgiving really do work when we want to keep our spirits set on God.
Father, Sustainer of our spirits, most of us haven’t faced the abuse Paul did, and a lot of what we’ve endured hasn’t been because of persecution. But we still need to keep our eyes on You and our hearts tuned in praise and worship. You are God. Help us anchor in You. Strengthen us so others will see Your goodness and love even when we’re in hard times.
Casting Crowns’ “Praise You in this Storm” is a good song to keep us focused.
*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thinking Paul’s got it right – most things that are against us will look like small stuff in the long view.
We just need to remember that!