How to Live – Day 4
It is easy to criticize when you are not doing something yourself. We experience that in every sphere; advice screamed from the spectator’s stands, experts in the pews, criticisms on how things could be better handled, etc. etc.
Paul experienced such a reaction from the church at Corinth. New teachers with new “revelations” in the church, as well as the so-called “thorn in the flesh”, had raised doubts in the church about the validity of Paul’s calling as an apostle. Their questions in fact proved that Christ was indeed speaking through Paul. (2 Corinthians 13:3).
Paul’s reply to them is very clear; his life is not based on his own weakness or on his own power. However, by faith in Christ and his ability, something sensational occurs – for the power of God is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul lives, loves and serves through his relationship with Christ in him. He cares for the Corinthians, therefore he prays to God that they will do no wrong, but will do what is right (2 Corinthians 13:7), and that they will become perfect (2 Corinthians 13:9).
For Paul, it is not about the Corinthians’ opinion of him, but about their behaviour – the sort of behaviour that is appropriate for people who testify to their faith in Jesus Christ. The question in his heart is whether the Corinthians are living in a genuine relationship with Christ. Hence his request: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 18:5)
As believers we also come face to face with individuals who query the authenticity of our faith, raising doubts about our calling in Christ, or with false rumours damage our reputation. At such times we feel powerless, weak and vulnerable, and do not know how to counteract such rumours. It is at then that Christ within us, powerfully strengthens us, but then we must be steadfast in our faith and we must know our standing with Christ.
We must regularly take stock of the status of our faith and honestly answer a few questions. Do we really lead a life based on our faith? Do we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ’s promise that he and the Father lives within us – and we in him? Is our everyday lifestyle a reflection of him within us? Do we live with a growing awareness of Christ’s presence – and power in our life, and do we continually thirst thereafter? A doubtful or half-hearted “yes” must lead to a commitment to redress the status of our faith.