Life and ministry have challenged me to set aside time for personal reading and devotion in recent days, but I’m back at it again today. As my dad used to say when coaching my youth sports teams, “We’re looking for progress, not perfection.”
Scripture: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-11
Observation: In his second letter to the followers of Jesus living in the Greek city of Corinth, the Apostle Paul is laying out his credentials as a disciple of Jesus and a leader in the church. For Paul, faith in Jesus isn’t just about mental gymnastics or sentiment or assent to an intellectual idea. Faith in Jesus involves the whole self, including the physical body. And it’s precisely Paul’s faith in the Lordship of Jesus that allows him and his companions to be afflicted, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair, etc.
Application: It’s been precisely a week since last week’s election results came in, and a large number of our fellow citizens still seem to be crushed, driven to despair, etc. Rather than telling them to “get over it,” or “buck up,” those of us who carry significant privilege (read: white Protestants, especially men) are faced with an opportunity to demonstrate that our faith in Jesus is about more than just an idea. How might we live today so that the life of Jesus might be made visible in our whole lives, even in our mortal flesh?
Prayer: Holy and merciful God, grant me the willingness today to lay down my privilege and pick up my cross and carry you, so that you life may be visible in my mortal flesh. Amen.