Who Is Sufficient?
A daily devotion for September 5th
12Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
What does all of this mean? I think it means that the world was unimpressed by the apostle Paul. With none of the physical charm or personal charisma of modern media darlings, this ordinary, nondescript Jewish man traveled around the Roman Empire, preaching this great message. The Chamber of Commerce never welcomed or honored him; no reporters followed him around, giving verbatim reports of all that he was saying. Even in his own eyes he was not doing anything tremendous. He himself was feeling, as he says, frustrated and restless; a great sense of failure gripped him. Despite all these appearances and even at the very moment of his frustration with himself, Paul expected that God was going to do something through him, because Jesus Christ was leading Paul in triumph, and his ministry did not rest on his own feeble attempts to do something for God. A great, widespread testimony of the fragrance of Jesus Christ was going out. People were being set free, and Paul's ministry was a success. And so he cries from this eternal gratitude of his heart,
Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph.
If I did not believe in that great principle, I would have resigned from the pastorate many times. At one time I had the privilege of spending a week on the campus of a university and was privileged to teach the Word of God to 2,400 college students. It was a tremendous opportunity, but every morning I spoke from a heavy heart because my child, who had been struggling with her faith for several years, was wandering farther and farther away. Despite our daily prayers, she seemed to be going further into hurtful things rather than drawing closer, so that her family was being terribly hurt. As a parent, you cannot face something like that without being aware that you may have contributed a great deal to the reasons for it. The enemy is quick to assault you, to accuse you. So I was ministering with a heavy heart, out of deep, personal anguish. The only thing that enabled me to keep going was that I had confidence in what Paul is saying here, that despite the personal frustration and darkness that I was going through, I was also being led in triumph by Jesus Christ; and out of my personal weakness would come a great manifestation of the strength of our Lord and the spreading of the fragrance of Christ.
Lord, I thank You for the privilege of being called into a ministry like this that does not rest upon my resources, my personality, my money, my time, or anything else but Your greatness.
Life Application: When our thoughts and feelings are burdened and anguished to feebleness, can we let the light and power of the Spirit of Christ demonstrate His sufficiency through us?
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