Tuesday, May 9, 2017

experiential negatives vs spiritual superlatives

 We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
2 Corinthians 6:8b-10

This was Paul's assessment of the experience of living a life committed to advancing the gospel. It was a life filled with paradoxical episodes. It was hard work and also a source of great joy. It was a life of persecution and wild acclaim, of difficulty accompanied with great delight. The gospel leads us to know both the agony and ecstasy of God's work.

Gospel proclamation will get these results. It will lead to Christians simultaneously maligned by many and upheld by some. It is not an easy life. The best life in Jesus is not about riches, acceptance by the world, and a constant happy vacation. Life in Christ is demanding. It is draining. It is dangerous.

Yet for every negative experience there is a spiritual superlative that outweighs it and makes a gospel centered life satisfying and well worth living. We are decried by the culture as untrue, yet preach the only truth the world needs. We die, yet live on. We are persecuted, yet Christianity is not killed. We sorrow, yet rejoice. We are poor, yet have inexhaustible riches in Christ. The gospel life gives us all we need.

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