Archive for December 1st, 2010

2 Corinthians 7

2 Corinthians 7 talks about the way we need to transition from our old nature to the new.  Paul tells the Corinthian church to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement….bringing holiness to completion”.  God is focused on making us holy.  He wants to purge the bad stuff from our lives and replace it with godliness.  Paul had written some very strong words in his first letter to the church.  He was sort of feeling bad about it – at least for a moment – until he realized that those words were producing what needed to happen.

And in a word – that was repentance.  What is repentance?  It is recognizing something needs to change and then turning 180 degrees and going in the opposite direction from that area that needed cleansing.  Paul tells us what drives repentance when he says “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret”.  Do you see the progression here.  As we get convicted of our sin, grief sets in because we have fallen short of God’s expectations.  That is not bad grief, as it produces a good result – repentance.  But the cool part is that repentance is not the end result.  The rest of the story – so to say – is that “repentance leads to salvation without regret”.  No one likes to feel guilty or be grieved.  But in order to create the environment that leads us to repentance, we have to be convicted of our sin.  We have to come face to face with the reality that we have missed the mark.  We have to experience godly grief.  That is the beginning of the path to salvation.  And once we receive it through that path – it is without regret.  We will know it is ours for eternity because we have come face to face with the Holy and Righteous God of the Universe in dealing with our sin, and received His grace through the spilled blood of Jesus on the Cross.

Paul goes on to thank the church for their investment in Titus.  “We rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all”.  Sometimes we miss the reality that serving in the ministry is a thankless job.  It sucks the life out of people.  Paul commends this church for refreshing Titus – who was there to minister to them.  What have you done lately to offer refreshment to your pastor or other full time ministers in your patch?  What have you done to make sure they feel appreciated and loved?  Don’t just take them for granted.  Write a note, invite them to coffee, host them for a meal, stop by unexpectedly and just say thanks.  But don’t’ stop there – continue to bless Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, folks serving as elders or deacons or organists or choir members.  Refresh the janitor and church secretary.  There are literally dozens of people in your church who give countless hours serving God week after week.  Often for little or no recognition, and no pay at all.  Except for the gratitude of people in their midst who make it a priority to invest in refreshing them.  And the “well done” they will hear from a loving God who notices every little detail we do for Him.  You may be on the list of those serving – maybe in a number of spots.  But you still are being served and ministered to and what better way to light the fire of gratitude and start the process of refreshing souls than to lead the pack.  Do it – and start today.  There is no better activity for this Christmas season than to invest in the lives of those who serve others.  And this time of year the weight on their shoulders is heavier than most of the year.  May God richly bless each of you who serve!  I am grateful for your example, your willingness, and your heart!

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