Happy Friday! This is the final Friday of the year. Today, we will pickup where we left off last Friday – 2 Corinthians chapter 3, where Paul was explaining to the Corinthians the sincerity of his preaching the Good News. Paul shared that he was not in it for the money [paraphrased by me], like most false prophets whose messages and motives were liken to dishonest merchants trying to make the next big sale, but Paul was honest in all his way. Join me today as we read verses 1-3.
“Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! 2 The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our[a] hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 3 Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.” ” – 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NLT
Have you ever had one of those moments where you are trying to explain something or your actions to someone and then realize, wait a minute I’m not the one on trial here? Paul obviously had a similar moment. Paul had to pause and ask the Corinthians two questions: “Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf?” (v.1)
Paul had to remind the Corinthians where their faith was developed, where there knowledge about the living God came from. He further impressed upon them the Old Covenant.
The letters were no longer on carved tablets as in Exodus 24:12:
- “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.””
Then he shared what God had done through Christ Jesus – the New Covenant which is eternal. Those who receive Christ as their Lord and Savior have hope of the acceptance of God, and the transforming work of the Spirit. The new covenant is inscribed on the human heart Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26:
- “And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart,”
- “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Sisters and brothers, as we prepare for the new year and decade ahead may I challenge you to trust God. The Corinthians were being introduced to every earthly thought, exposed to false teachers and were being divided. It is similar to our society today, we are being exposed to earthly kingdoms and riches, rulers with swaying opinions, actions and thoughts. Christians are being divided by the left and the right because we have lost our focus. Sisters and brothers, as we bring in 2020 let us gain 20/20 vision and focus our eyes on the living God. Let us allow God to penetrate our hearts, let Him shed away the stony and stubborn parts of our hearts and transform us into the people he designed us to be.
As you ponder on this devotion, one thing we should remember, it’s not always the world that is against God and His word, sometimes it’s our own heart, our own stubborn and stony ways that keep us from following God in wholeness.
What are some of the stony and stubborn ways or thoughts that you need to turn over to God in the new year?
Father God, thank you for your word today. Thank you for checking our hearts and motives. Lord, only you can begin to make a way out of no way. Only you can break our stubborn and stony hearts and make them tender and responsive. Lord, make us knew. In spite of what our flesh desires or what he world says is okay, Lord we know we need you. Make our desires align with your word. Make our words soft and loving, but bold for you. Lord, create in us a mind that is open to your love, but not shifting in our beliefs in what your word says is true. Lord, keep working in us. Lord, bring back the lost, restore the broken, heal our land and our children. In Jesus name, amen.
Stay Focused! Keep Pressing! Keep Trusting!
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