Are you proving yourself to be a minister of God?
2 Corinthians 6:1-5: “1We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;”
Christians today use this passage to justify suffering in the believer’s life. The typical Christian message is that we patiently endure [afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, and fastings] in life and that by doing so we become more experienced at being able to respond to these things in a Christ like way. Unfortunately, no one seems to have figured out exactly how to explain how that happens, nor really has anyone been able to achieve that end through this process.
Paul was NOT advocating enduring suffering here for a greater cause.
2 Corinthians 2:14 says that God always causes us to triumph in Christ. God is causing us to Triumph, not the process of suffering or enduring hardships. Constantly enduring [afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, and fastings] in life and never conquering them or preventing them only achieves futility and is not triumphing. The process of enduring hardship for the sake of learning something the process doesn’t naturally teach, is futile and insane. Hardship does not naturally or logically or even magically produce patience, love, self discipline, faith, or endurance. God does not supernaturally appear because we undergo hardships or suffering. There is nothing spiritually created or manifested if I am constantly being overtaken by these things. My mind, will, and emotions are led to futility. There is no supernatural expression of the Spirit in this process that brings about patience, a drive to endure, or peace; because the expression of the Spirit is done through us(Philippians 2:13) as we PARTAKE of the divine nature(2 Peter 1:4). If we are undergoing hardships and sufferings, then we are not expressing the Spirit in a position of being more than conquerors. But, the Christian message is that this process is supposed to some how help my mind, will, and emotions be led to such patient endurance.
Paul is not advocating that some how through the help of the Spirit we learn to be patient and endure these types of suffering in life as Christians in this passage. In verse 4 the word MINISTER = de-ä’-ko-nos. It means 1) one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister. In verse 4 the word PATIENCE = hü-po-mo-nā’. It means 1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance.
A Minister of God is one who is constantly executing the commands of God. Executing is not a “trying” or an “attempt”. Being able to Execute the commands of God means that we are fully able to carry them out with proof or evidence in the resulting circumstance. IF the execution of the command of God fails, the resulting circumstance can lead to an offense that can lay blame as verse 3 points out. If my answer to unbelievers or immature believers is that the name of Jesus is above ALL other things, except for [afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, and fastings], sorry those things you will just have to go through and somehow God will show up; I open the door for offense and blame that God does not love enough, or is not active enough in the lives of those He came to fully deliver, save, and give Life to.
Paul’s focus is NOT on how the Christian should suffer hardship. Paul’s focus is on proving to people that Christianity is effective, that there is hope when the devil tries to manifest [afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, and fastings] in a believer’s life. Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 6:4, that consistently and constantly when the devil tried to attack him and others with TRIBULATION[afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, and fastings], Paul PROVED himself as one who executed God’s commands.
As believers are we doing and teaching the same?
God’s command was that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, heal the sick, raise the dead, give life, preach that the will of God is deliverance from ALL the works of the devil; and then demonstrate in the situation that the name of Christ can resolve the tribulation. Otherwise, His name and the ministry of executing His will is offensive and open to blame as being ineffective. Paul says in ALL things, don’t give an opportunity for an offense to be created where the offended can blame the ministry. Instead, in ALL things execute God’s commands. By doing so you prove and show that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is above all things including [afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, and fastings].
Proving that we are able to execute the commands of God prevents offense and an opportunity to say that God’s name is not effective. The proof is that the situation changes. The affliction is thwarted, the need is meet, the stripe and imprisonment are overruled, there is peace instead of tumult and distress, laboring is not required, the watching is replaced with rest, the fasting is foregone, and the storm is calmed.
The Abide Project is designed to teach you how to successfully execute the commands of God for yourself and others. Abide IN Him and every aspect of life will bow to the name of Jesus. The devil will leave you alone as you learn to always Triumph over his attack. Praise Jesus forever!