from Lynda Lindsey
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. II Corinthians 4:1
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also. II Corinthians 6:11-13
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. II Corinthians 7:2
The apostle Paul definitely wasn’t a coward! Because Paul’s primary concern was to preach the Good News accurately and boldly, with pure motives, he renounced all disgraceful, underhanded ways of advancing the gospel; Paul refused to tamper with God’s Word. Having received his ministry directly from the Lord’s merciful hand, Paul didn’t lose heart in the midst of great sufferings and trials. Instead, Paul joyfully shared in the sufferings of Christ and rightly claimed that his faithfulness in the face of severe trials attested to the purity of his motives.
Paul didn’t lose heart when he faced trials because he looked not to the things that are seen, but to the unseen; his eternal perspective gave him courage and boldness. Paul relied on the Lord and the sustaining power of His Holy Spirit for strength. Here, in our present lives, we are temporarily away from the Lord, but soon we’ll shed our earth-suits and be face to face with the Lord for eternity! Outwardly, our body wastes away, but inwardly, we are renewed daily; any present affliction is light and momentary in the light of eternity. Paul’s wide-open, roomy heart still speaks freely to us, encouraging us.
Paul encourages us to open wide our heart to the Lord’s eternal truth, to advance the gospel no matter the cost, to grow into mature kingdom citizens who rightly handle the Word of God, to lay aside childish, earth-bound ways and see with eyes of faith, to endure hardship courageously, and to allow Christ’s light to shine through us into a dark world. As Martin Luther’s hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, attests, “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill: God's truth abideth still; His kingdom is forever!” With a wide-open, roomy heart, live courageously and fearlessly!
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, by Martin Luther, probably written between 1527-1529