Today, we wrap up 2 Corinthians. This must have been a hard letter for Paul to write; the need to correct those you lead is never easy. I would imagine that he struggled with how to express his love but to talk about some really hard things at the same time. I’ve felt that as a parent and as a leader and although I’ve been doing these things for a lot of years, it’s still difficult.
Paul closes his letter with words of encouragement that we can all benefit from:
11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
Be joyful, grow in maturity, encourage each other and live in harmony and peace – such simple words but what a huge impact we would make if we took these words to heart.
Joy is different than happiness in that it is not dependent on our circumstances. The Bible tells us to be joyful multiple times; this deep emotion is evidence of the fruit that the Holy Spirit plants and cultivates in us. Joy should mark us as believers and I’m ashamed at how often I miss this.
If we are followers of Christ, we should take the responsibility of growing to maturity seriously. We should be in God’s Word daily, reading and allowing it to speak to our hearts and change us. We can’t live the life that God has planned for us without allowing Him to direct our minds and hearts.
To me, encouraging each other and living in harmony and peace has to do with keeping relationships clear. When misunderstandings happen, we need to make clearing them up in a God honoring way a priority. Joy, maturity, encouragement, harmony and peace are available to all of us if we seek them.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach