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.
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.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 Corinthians 13:11-14 (The Message)
The end of Paul’s letters always seem to be so much more clear in their statements. No convoluted talk. Just straight out ‘orders’.
Here Paul is listing the instructions of what I need to do to be the child who wants to be close to my Heavenly Father. It would be easy to get out of balance and focus only on serving and building God’s Kingdom. But here Paul reminds me that I must first pay attention to my own relationship with Jesus and then I can serve. I must keep my own life-bucket filled with the Living Water in order to leak all lover everyone else. When Paul wrote the Philippian church, he said clearly that
you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, graciousâ€”the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8 (The Message)
So I know what to do, the question is: Will I listen and obey? And that has to with whether I will admit that â€œI don’t knowâ€ and humble myself in obedience to God.
Too often, we as parents feel that we can not admit that we do not know the answers to our children’s questions. I don’t mean just school questions like calculus or quantum physics. But we are uncomfortable when our child comes to us with ethical or life questions and instead of knowing the answer immediately, we are hesitant because maybe we haven’t had that experience or thought the question through. Our children need to know that we don’t know everything and that we rely on God for the answers.
He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by Godâ€™s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by Godâ€™s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in youâ€”unless, of course, you fail the test?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 Corinthians 13:3-5 (NIV)
Jesus said that He makes the decision to lay down His life (John 10:17-18). Jesus shows me the paradox in His own life. When I ‘let go’ and allow God to be the all to me â€“ Savior, Father, Teacher, Friend, Lover, Director of my life â€“ the world may think I am weak, but it is then that I am strong in the power of God.
This week I thought of many young men who are dads. I have spent time praying for them. And as I prayed and read this passage of Scripture my prayer was that they would â€œtestâ€ themselves. Be willing to let the Holy Spirit shine His light inside to see who really rules their hearts â€“ God or something or someone else. And then I was pulled in my spirit to do the same.
â€œCome Holy Spirit. Shine Your light into my heart. Test me and see if there is anything that separates me from You. Cleanse me, fill me and guide me all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.â€