I am very fortunate to be a part of an online grow group with friends who want to excel in their walk with Jesus. One young lady amused us one evening as we talked about what God really sees in our hearts as we live each day. She spoke honestly about those days when God’s Spirit causes her to evaluate what is really in her heart. She said it became clear to her as she praying one day with maybe a bit too much pride. She had always declared to the world, “I am a Christian!” But suddenly her spirit stopped her to ask, “But am I really?”
What this young, beautiful lady was pondering, “Am I really becoming more and more like Christ?” She began evaluating her behaviors and testing her thoughts and beliefs, just like Paul is asking the Corinthians believers to do. It is so easy for us to be pious and proud, missing the point of following Jesus altogether. To only find and accept Jesus is to merely be impressed with Jesus is easy. To follow Jesus is a deep commitment to the most important relationship we will ever have with letting go of what we think to take on what He wants us to be and do. This is harder but more rewarding that life itself. This loving relationship grows with each new day. And there is a bonus! In following Jesus, the more we realize the deep love Jesus has for us! Then the deeper and more intimate and loving our relationships become with each other! The beat goes on…and on, so to speak when Jesus becomes the beat of our hearts!
We decided at the end of her testimony that we all need to fall before the Lord daily, asking Him what HE wants to do in us so we will be more and more in every way like Him. This is a lifelong, daily journey, not just a quick-trip-fix to church. Church is a gathering of all kinds of people who celebrate together what God is doing in all who find and follow Jesus! But personally, it’s daily.
This is pretty much what Paul is teaching the church. Test what we know about Jesus, evaluate our behaviors and see if it matches what we say we believe about Jesus. Jesus is alive in all who believe, accept and follow Him!
We see Paul’s passionate caring in his prayer of declaration;
“We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.”
In Christ, He is our strength in our weakness, for He is our confidence. He is our everything! Jesus living in us.
CORINTHIANS—CALLED AND SENT
2 Corinthians 13, The Message
He’s Alive Now!
1-4 Well, this is my third visit coming up. Remember the Scripture that says, “A matter becomes clear after two or three witnesses give evidence”? On my second visit I warned that bunch that keeps sinning over and over in the same old ways that when I came back I wouldn’t go easy on them. Now, preparing for the third, I’m saying it again from a distance. If you haven’t changed your ways by the time I get there, look out. You who have been demanding proof that Christ speaks through me will get more than you bargained for. You’ll get the full force of Christ, don’t think you won’t. He was sheer weakness and humiliation when he was killed on the cross, but oh, he’s alive now—in the mighty power of God! We weren’t much to look at, either, when we were humiliated among you, but when we deal with you this next time, we’ll be alive in Christ, strengthened by God.
5-9 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
10 I’m writing this to you now so that when I come I won’t have to say another word on the subject. The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart. I want to get on with it, and not have to spend time on reprimands.
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11-13 And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello.
14 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.
In Jesus Name, For His Gory, Amen!!