Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart.
(II Corinthians 5:12 NLT)
Are we giving people the right reason to be proud of us? The Apostle Paul in this portion of Scripture was answering those who were bragging about external appearances rather than a changed heart.
The Bible speaks about the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. Gifts are bestowed but fruits are grown. The fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy and peace are often cultivated in the soil of trials and tribulations. The gifts of God can come quickly but the fruits of His Spirits are developed over time. A weightlifter friend of mine used to say, “short term pain leads to long term gain.” The Corinthians that Paul confronted were guilty of dwelling on the spectacular aspects of ministry and missing the godly character traits exhibited by Paul and his followers. The things that we Christians sometimes prize are nothing more than wood, hay and stubble that are easily consumed when the fiery trial appears.
Remember what Jesus said, But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven (Luke 10:20 NLT). We should be excited that we are a child of the King and being conformed to His image. Our bragging rights are not about what we can do for Christ, but who we are in Christ.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/