Father, many pulsing messages press in on me every day. Enable me to tune in to your frequency and hear your voice.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 13
13 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”[a] 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
- 2 Corinthians 13:1 Deut. 19:15
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThank God for those Christians who have encouraged you and built up your faith.
In several places in his letters Paul gives us a revealing glimpse into his prayers for the churches he planted and served. They challenge us about our priorities in prayer.
Paul is planning to visit Corinth for a third time, and warns that, if he finds that there has been no improvement in behavior of embers of the church, they will indeed find that he can be just as tough in person as he is in his letters, contrary to the accusations of his detractors. He hopes, however, that this will not be necessary; his prayer is that Corinthians will cease from doing wrong (v 7). Matthew Henry comments: ‘The most desirable thing we can ask of God, for ourselves and our friends, is to be kept from sin, that we and they may not do evil. We have far more need to pray that we may not do evil, than that we may not suffer evil.’*
Paul may be accused of weakness if the Corinthians’ change of behavior makes strong action unnecessary, but all that matters to him is that they are strong in their faith. So he prays for their restoration. While the false apostles enjoyed inflating their own status, Paul’s only desire is to build up others (v 10). Paul encourages this church to work for healing divisions and mutual encouragement before closing with the short prayer that we often use today (v 14).
Who needs your prayer and encouragement today? How can your prayers reflect those offered by Paul?
Holy Lord, help me to run the race, to fight the fight, to finish the course, all to your glory.
*Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1997
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