Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why are we given authority?

I am reminded of a children's song I used to sing when I read Paul say "when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down." (2 Cor. 13:10b) He writes, urging the church to realize that they, too, are in Christ and are called to live as such. They are also, as he knows so confidently, full of Christ and thus full of Christ's authority. Paul makes it clear that he is not strong, he is very weak- and indeed he rejoices in his weakness..."For when I am weak, then I am strong." (12:10)

Paul wants his brothers and sisters to know the truth, the power they have, and the abuse it is when we, in our sinfullness and selfish will, fail to live in this calling. God has called us, united His son to us, and our worth and value is great for this reason alone. How amazing!

What to do....what to do when so many are not living up to their calling? I have felt discouraged in the past few days, when I see sin so evident in the body of Christ, I grow frustrated and want to be bitter. Ah, but then I remember my sin. My shame that held Christ to the cross. Realization of my weakness, as Paul returns to always, I am no better. I am not more worthy, and this is not what saddens me! What saddens me is I see other's worth and what God desires to do with them.

Do not live in fear, do not let pride take you hostage, do not think you are better than others (and do not think you are worse). Remember your weakness, and through that your strength. I can hear Paul's frustration in this letter too, "Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking IN Christ, and all for our upbuilding, beloved." (12:19) Paul says, hey listen up! I love you, and I know your capabilities, your value, and what is so much more, God knows! He wants you to live without fear and in humbleness.

He wants those of us trying to live this out, to build each other up. I do not use my authority to judge, to condemn, to insult, to show off- I use my authority to encourage. I use my authority in a meek manner, knowing I am one decision away from being entrenched in sin, I do not put myself in a place where I am above sin, for I am prone, I know this all too well.

"Finally brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss." (13:11-12)

Certainly words to be challenged and perhaps even offended by. Restoration? Agreement? Peace? We must strive for these, throw off pride and use our authority given by God for building up and NOT for tearing down.


Donna Boucher said...

Encourage one another and build each other up.
upupupupupupupupup :o)

Judy said...

In C.S Lewis' Narnia book The Last Battle at the end one of the characters shouts to the others, "Farther up and farther in!" I often think of that quote when trying to find my way.

PS I tried to comment yesterday and got cut off, hope this works.

Cheryl said...

I have read through your blog today and am amazed by your profound ability to express how the Lord is directing you. I have been blessed this past year I "met" your mom through her blog... she has offered me words of strength and encouragement when she was struggling. I know God has His Hand in this "electronic world" of ours. And for that I am so grateful.

Emma said...

God is working through His people, and so He is working through these forms of electronic media...that is a good reminder I need to keep in mind. Thank you!

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