When You Are Misunderstood
A daily devotion for September 3rd
12Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace. 13For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes, yes" and "No, no"?
18But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
1So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is notYesandNo.For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you... was notYesandNo,but in him it has always beenYes.For no matter how many promises God has made, they areYesin Christ (2 Corinthians 1:18-20).
Paul answers the charge of some who were actually saying that he lived just like a worldling, a non-Christian, that he did whatever was convenient, and he did not bother to try to keep his word in any way. It is always interesting to me how these letters find such a remarkable correspondence to what goes on in our lives today. One problem among Christians, and often younger Christians, is that they have not yet seen that faithfulness to their commitments ought to be a characteristic of them. It is amazing to me, and sometimes discouraging, to see how many Christians, even older Christians, will say they are going to do something or be someplace and then show no sense of responsibility for fulfilling the promise and the commitment they made.
That is contrary to the nature of a Christian, because it is contrary to the nature of God. God is not like that;
He is faithful, Paul says. When God says yes, then it is an eternal yes. He will never take it back. When God says no, He means no. He never says yes when He means no. Paul is saying that God's promises are always positive promises. Have you noticed that in the Scriptures? Whenever you come to God in the name of Jesus and ask for what He has promised, the answer is always yes. That is ultimately what He is saying:
Yes. God's promises are for blessing, not for cursing.
Why did Paul change his plan? Why did he say two times he was going to come directly to Corinth but instead did not come directly? Rather, he went by way of Macedonia, and he came only once. Paul says his plans changed because the Spirit of God opened his eyes to see circumstances that made him change his mind. He could see that the great promises of blessing that God had for this church at Corinth would only be fulfilled if he did not come directly to Corinth but instead went to Macedonia and waited for Titus there. So, convinced of the Spirit and in obedience to what he saw of the Spirit's teaching in this regard, with a clear conscience, Paul changed his original plan and went to Macedonia instead of Corinth.
Father, I thank You that You have awakened in my heart a desire to say a responding, resounding amen to what You have promised. Grant to me now freedom and an obedient heart to claim these for myself.
Life Application: God always says yes to to what He has promised. How well do we understand His promises? How faithful are we to keep the promises and commitments we make?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.