Grapes on the Vine, God's Abundant Provision for His People

A daily devotion for February 2nd

Unquenchable Optimism

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16

There are certain qualities of living under the New Covenant. First, there is a kind of unquenchable optimism. Thanks be unto God, Paul says. This marks the kind of life Paul lived. He was always giving thanks for everything that happened, no matter how rough and tough it was. With that came unvarying success: who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession, Paul says. Never in failure; that is, not triumph in his own plan, but Christ's plan. Then there is an unforgettable impact. Everywhere Paul goes he is like a perfume which fills a room, a fragrance of Christ. To some who are rejecting him, this fragrance is an odor of death unto death, but to those who accept it, it is an odor of life unto life.

Paul asks this question: And who is equal to such a task? Where do you get that kind of ability and adequacy? What kind of a study course will give you that? What kind of chemical compound will produce that? I am always fascinated by magazine ads. They are forever offering the secret of adequacy. If you get a certain deodorant you will be adequate to handle whatever comes your way, or if you would use the right mouthwash it will help tremendously. Everybody knows those ads are fake. Nobody even takes them seriously, although people do buy the product, which is what these ads seek. But if you really took seriously the claims of advertising, you would think you had discovered the elixir of life in some of these things. They are offering adequacy because that is what human beings long for — how to be able to cope, how to handle situations. And not only are chemical compounds offered, but also courses. One says, Have you discovered all the hidden powers of your personality? Do you know the secrets of the ancients, now rediscovered? Send a hundred dollars for this course. Read this and you will get all these secret powers. Again, it is the offer of the secret of adequacy. In a hundred ways today, the world is offering this.

Where do you find the secret of that kind of living? His answer is the New Covenant. The New Covenant consists of this: Nothing coming from us, everything from God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God (2 Corinthians 3:5). It is God at work in us that makes us act and produce this kind of living, if we are going to do it at all.

Lord, teach me to live by this life-changing principle: nothing comes from me, everything comes from you.

Life Application

What truth do you rely on to help you cope with life's situations? Are you trusting the world's solutions or God's power?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Authentic Christianity

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