2 Corinthians 13:11 New Living Translation
“Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”
The Apostle Paul had spent much time ministering to the church in Corinth. They had proven to be weak in their faith and in need of much instruction. Paul’s first letter dealt with false teachings that had permeated the church. He instructed them regarding building up their faith and altering their lifestyle, which had not been exemplary of a follower of Christ. While the first letter was received well and most took Paul’s teachings to heart, there were still some of the newer Christians who were being told Paul’s authority was not from God. This second letter was meant to reestablish his rightful place in their hearts and minds as an apostle of Christ, called by God. In his final greetings at the end of the letter, which we see in part above, he leaves them with specific instructions on how they are to behalf toward one another within the body of Christ.
These words apply to every body of believers in Christ worldwide. The enemy seeks to divide, but if believers follow the instructions laid out for them in scripture, the devil cannot get a foothold. All it takes is one divisive individual and those willing to entertain what they say to bring down a congregation or at the very least split it right down the middle, thus making it ineffective for Christ. We must always remember that we are not autonomous, but rather a body of believers who function as one unit in the name of the Lord. It is without question not about us as individuals. Humility should rule the day as we strive to be faithful representatives for Christ. We must follow Paul’s instructions by being an encouragement to one another. We are to place the needs of others above our own. We are to live in peaceful harmony, for the opposite of that creates tension and as with a rope that is pulled too tight, tension can cause a rope to break, thus causing a division between the two halves.
The final statement above is conditional in nature. If we, as believers in Christ, are joyful, grow in maturity, are encouraging and live in peaceful harmony with one another within the body, THEN God’s love and peace will be with you. This is not to say that God will stop loving you if you don’t exhibit these qualities, but rather than his love and peace will not be with you corporately. As in it will not be evident to those outside your congregation. So follow Paul’s instructions, read scripture so that you may know how you are to behalf and tap into the Spirit of God within you to make it happen. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.