If you didn’t meet the devil today, you’re probably walking in the same direction.
Rudy Ross describes opposition to God’s work in his life as “mischief.” Mischief comes in the form of the world’s system, our human inclination to self-will, and demonic forces.
Paul definitely encountered mischief in Corinth. He tried to lead a hard-headed, willful, immature church.
If that wasn’t bad enough, false teachers came to the church and sought to usurp Paul’s leadership.
Paul attempted to reign the trouble in Corinth by encouraging the congregation to action.
— 2 Corinthians 7.1-4 – Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one; we have corrupted no one; we have taken advantage of no one.
I do not say this to condemn you, for I have already said that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.
I am being completely frank with you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction.
Volunteers Vs. Employees
Everyone in the Corinthian church was a volunteer, including Paul. At any time a volunteer can turn to the leader and say, “No, I’m not following you.”
Employees have a different experience from that of volunteers. They are required to complete the tasks given to them by management. They can say, “No, I’m not following you,” like the volunteer.
Management can respond, “There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on the way out!”
Church leaders don’t have the leverage of paid employment over their volunteers. Paul is an excellent model of how to work with volunteers.
Paul didn’t shy away from speaking the truth in love to the church.
Our grandson, Grayson, loves to climb. At nine years old, he is a very good rock climber.
He is not discriminating about where he climbs. Recently, at our house, he began to climb the china cabinet. I gave him a sharp rebuke, motivated by fear of the possibility of it falling on him.
I would have done him no favor if I hadn’t confronted him with the danger of climbing that part of our furniture.
If Paul had adopted an “anything goes” attitude toward the Corinthians, he would have exposed them to danger like was possible for my cabinet-climbing grandson.
Paul didn’t give up on a troubled church. He used encouragement and leadership by example to unify them to be a church pleasing to God.
A volunteer church is best led by loving, giving, and exemplary leaders.
The goal of an effective church is the same today as it was in A.D. 55 Corinth. A unified, Holy Spirit-led church will impact the surrounding world with the love of God.
The hope of 50,000 Corinthians having a chance to live in a personal relationship with Jesus depended on the 50 plus members of the church being the best witnesses possible.
This appeal is familiar and true: “If not now, when? If not you, then who?”
Joy in Affliction
Paul ended these verses with an interesting combination of words, “I am overjoyed in all our affliction” (verse 4).
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross explains why the mischief he encounters encourages him. He knows if he is confronted by mischief – the world’s system, human selfishness, and demonic forces – then he must be doing something right.
I think Rudy has a very good point here. If we’re serving the Lord and trouble comes, let’s thank God and keep on following his direction.
You can watch our YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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