2 Corinthian 2:12-17 – God Prepares the Way, Not Me

“When I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ, I found that the Lord had already prepared the way.  But I was worried when I didn’t find my friend Titus there. So I left the other followers and went on to Macedonia.
I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume.   In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.
No one really has what it takes to do this work.  A lot of people try to get rich from preaching God’s message. But we are God’s sincere messengers, and by the power of Christ we speak our message with God as our witness.” (Contemporary English Version)
 
            God is the One who calls people to himself.  God is the powerful sovereign ruler of the universe who prepares the way for people to proclaim the good news of deliverance in the name of Jesus.  God is the Being who dominates the Holy Scripture.  God is the main and principal actor in the unfolding drama of redemption of the Bible.  God is the Great Shepherd who calls, gathers, assures, forgives, teaches, leads, and sends people throughout the ages.  God is the diligent and careful farmer who enables the knowledge of Jesus to spread across the earth and cause a bloom of grace to flower.  God is the divine florist who produces the sweet smell of salvation from the rancid field of relational separation.
            You see, my friend, that unless we capture the vision of a God who orchestrates and animates his self-revealing to others,  you and I will muck around this world trying to live the Christian life in the misguided notion that leading others to Jesus Christ is on our shoulders – that somehow our ability, or lack thereof, determines whether another person is delivered from their brokenness and finds God.
            Oh, my goodness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Those who are estranged from God, like vulnerable lost sheep in the world, are called by the shepherd, not us.  We simply go in the enablement of God’s power and blessing to pick up lost sheep and carry them back to the fold.
You and I are messengers, couriers from God with a life-giving message of forgiveness and deliverance for all whom the Lord calls – and His voice can be heard across the entire world.
We are field-hands who enter the harvest and enjoy the gathering of fresh grain into God’s great storehouse of grace.  You and I did not make anything grow.  God was really behind the planting, the growth, the given rain, and the producing of fruit.  In many ways, we’re just along for the tractor ride.
Many Christians put far too much emphasis on themselves – what they should and could be doing, as if the salvation of others depended on them.  But God is behind every good and beautiful thing in this earth.  Learning to trust his leading and power makes all the difference in a world needing Jesus.

 

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me to the beginning of this day.  Preserve me with your mighty power that I might be an instrument in your grand orchestra of salvation, blowing the sound of Jesus Christ in melodious sounds of deliverance; with the breath of the Holy Spirit giving the wind.  Amen.

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