Monday: Looking Forward – 2 Cor 2:16-18
Paul contrasts the 2 directions of our lives. As some of us are only too aware, our physical bodies get weaker as we grow older. On the other hand, our spiritual faculties develop and strengthen. The upside of aging is that it brings us ever closer to the presence of God. For that reason, we should keep our eyes ‘looking forward’, fixed on God, rather than the material things of this life. This world’s goods inevitably deteriorate and become worthless over time, whereas the things of heaven are eternal and beyond value.
Tuesday: Eternity – 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Paul longed for the day he would no longer have to suffer the stresses and strains of his mortal body – the day when he would be ‘clothed’ with a spiritual body and then be able to worship and serve the Lord perfectly. He speaks of the Holy Spirit as the first instalment of this life to come, a foretaste of eternity. But at the same time, he recognises that at the end of this life he will have to provide an account of the way he has lived here on earth. How do you regard eternity?
Wednesday: Walk the Talk – 2 Cor 5:11-19
Paul harkens back once more to the criticism he has received – he is well aware that what he says will be coloured by the way people see him. That’s true for all of us – it’s pointless to speak of God’s love but, at the same time, live lives that do not demonstrate that love. He insists that all believers should be living and showing the world their ‘new creation’ lives – lives that have been changed and fashioned by God. Just as we have been reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, so we should be passing on this message of reconciliation to others.
Thursday: Ambassadors – 2 Cor 5:20 – 6:2
Paul introduces a wonderful metaphor to describe how believers should be living in this world which is essentially ‘foreign’ because it is ruled over by the devil – we are to be God’s ambassadors. An ambassador acts on behalf of another country. He may speak a different language to his host country; he may even have a different culture and values. However, he is expected to speak on behalf of the authority he has come to represent. He, and more importantly, his country will be judged by his efforts and the life he leads.
Friday: Endurance and Equipment – 2 Corinthians 6:3-10
Paul considers the life he has led since his conversion and the troubles he has endured. He breaks them into 3 categories. Firstly, personal difficulties – the sorrows and disappointments of which he has had more than his fair share. Then there are the physical discomforts – beatings and imprisonments. And finally, the spiritual tribulations. But he doesn’t dwell on the hardships but goes on to consider the ways he has been equipped by God to deal with them. As a result, whatever threats he might face have been overcome through the grace and power of God and His Holy Spirit.
Saturday: Incorruptible – 2 Cor 6:11-13 & 7:2- 4
Paul makes claims which may come as a challenge to most of us – he has neither wronged, corrupted nor taken advantage of anyone. I wonder how many of us can truly say the same. We often forget that when we ‘sin’, by our words or actions, in the presence of others who know of our faith, we are potentially giving them ‘permission’ to do the same – we are, in effect, corrupting them!