Persecution & Suffering: 23

In 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 Paul says, “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.  Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;  known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;  sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

Here, Paul is listing the ways he is encouraging faith in others and avoiding doing anything that might hinder people’s faith. Notice how many of these items are related either to suffering or to his response to suffering. He cites these items first, before more “positive” items. Then he highlights that both have a significant role by contrasting pairs of apparently good and bad situations, and closes by demonstrating the paradox of how God uses apparent negatives to bring about positive results. This is another example of the “upside down” Kingdom.

God brings good out of what His enemies intend for evil. He demonstrates His power in our weakness. He shows forth His hope and joy and love through us in circumstances the world would respond to with despair, grief and hate.

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