Put yourselves to the test and judge yourselves, to find out whether you are living in faith. Surely you know that Christ Jesus is m you?—unless you have completely failed. I trust you will know that we are not failures. We pray to God that you will do no wrong—not in order to show that we are a success, but so that you may do what is right even though we may seem to be failures. For we cannot do a thing against the truth, but only for it. (verses 5-8)
To the end Paul has to speak strongly. There is too much at stake to let people go on living in complacency, believing they are fine just as they are. He reminds them of who they are, whose they are, and how they should be living if their faith is genuine.
We need to be told this too. It’s so easy to find a comfort zone in the church—mixing with our own people, getting into a nice comfortable rut, doing things the way we’ve always done them because, well, because that’s the way we’ve always done them. But we have an important role to play in taking God’s love to people who won’t know about it unless we tell them. And that means leaving our comfort zone from time to time.
But we need to hear the concluding words of this letter too, just as the Corinthians needed to. Paul leaves these frustrating, stubborn people that he loves with a blessing that leaves them in the love and power of God. He doesn’t just wish nice things for them; God blesses them through his words. Because despite their weaknesses, flaws, tiffs and squabbles, they have never stopped being God’s people.
And neither have we.
Father, I seek your blessing, that I may be empowered by you r grace and you r love to live in fellowship with you and my brothers and sisters. Amen.
by Robert Turnbull, in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
Visit the Daily Devotion archives page.