Aloha Friday Message – November 8, 2013 – For the Sake of Christ

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Read it online here, please.

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore, I accept weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. It’s clear that when I’m weak, I’m strong.

2 Corinthians 12:15But I cheerfully also shall spend and I would even give up my person for the sake of your souls, even though, the more I love you, the less you love me.

Nowadays, people would say, “What’s wrong with this guy? Has he got a persecution complex or something?” I would answer, “Definitely no. A persecution complex is a delusional state and usually has no foundation in reality. Paul was under no delusion when writing this second letter to the Corinthians. In the first letter he had admonished them to crack down on one of their members who was causing division within the church. Earlier in this letter he chides them for taking thing too far and states he has forgiven the repentant man and certainly they should as well.

Paul’s statement should not be interpreted as fatalism, or as false humility, either. In his perspective there is a complementary and harmonizing connection between suffering and sanctity. When his mind, his spirit, and his body are at rest in Christ, he is “in the world but not of the world.” The verb translated “accept” in the first passage is εὐδοκέω [eudokéō] which carries connotations of to think well of, or to choose gladly, or willingly accept, or to think best. It is like our expression “It comes with the territory.” If someone had told Paul that his stance was heroic, Paul would reply much the same way suddenly-noticed heroes do: “I’m no hero. I was just doing my job.” And so, Beloved, we are called to look on our own actions when encumbered with weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. Do we become histrionic like the Pharisee in the temple, tooting our own horn about how deeply we suffer? Do we become tranquil and self-restrained like Paul? Not that Paul didn’t moan and groan a little about his suffering as a prisoner; he let others know he was hurting, but he also let others know that the hurt he experienced was gladly and fervently offered up for the sake of the Body of Christ

When we are troubled, we are often led to prayer, as in “There are no atheists in foxholes.” God always hears the prayers of faith we offer up, but his answers are sometimes – perhaps often – not what we had on our wish-list. Sometime when we ask for direction, instead of a push in the right direction we might receive a smack up alongside the head. Sometime when we are asking for things that will harm us, he withholds them in love, or grants them so the lesson we learn will be indelible. When we don’t get what we want, sometime, childishly (different from “child-like”), we pout, and grumble, and cry out in the anguish of our suffering that God has abandoned us. If instead he covers us with his grace we are easily led to belief our own strong faith has saved us. When, however, we accept everything – good or bad, sweet or bitter, bliss or pain – with equanimity, poise, and self-control, we are allowing that grace to work in us. That grace-at-work fortifies, enlivens, and encourages us. Through this, we show others the centrality of Jesus in our turntoLorRlives and God is therein glorified. Though on the Road to Calvary, we are also climbing the road to Zion and God’s own Heaven When we are humble enough to glorify God, we are strengthened in ways that overcome every trial, every false accusation, every painful torment our adversary imposes on us. In that way, also, the adversary is defeated and Christ is victorious.

In our own right we are weak, but he is strong. When we hold our peace, we are held in peace. When we wait on God, God fulfills us. When we are quiet, he is pleasantly present and we hear and feel that presence. When we reason that God is trustworthy so that when he tells us that all will be well, we realize that whatever is happening to us is what God has desired and intended for us because of his Love for us. That is his promise (one of thousands) to us. We have only to claim it then live it.

And how do we live this promise? Behold!

Isaiah 30:15c – In quietness and confidence is your strength.

and

Exodus 14:14The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Isaiah30-15YourStrength

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

 

“The Lord is my Shepherd. That’s all I need to know.”

 chick

Age Quod Agis

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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