You’ve Got to Have Heart (2 Corinthians 5:12-13)

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.” (2 Corinthians 5:11–13, KJV)

The1955 musical, “Damn Yankees,” is set during the 1950’s when the New York Yankees dominated professional baseball. The is another team, the Washington Senators who quite literally are no match for the Yankees. They do not have a star hitter or a great pitcher. They are not a great ball club and yet they find themselves competing against the Yankees. This is the backdrop of the song, “You Gotta Have Heart,” that is sung during the musical. The tune is obviously catchy, but the lyrics resonate with the one who is the underdog. They go like this. “You’ve gotta have heart, All you really need is heart.” There is something about having heart that drives ordinary people to extraordinary heights.

In Paul’s time of ministry, he endures much affliction. He voluntarily sacrificed and endured hardship for the sake of the gospel ministry. He had some who opposed his ministry and they touted their credentials as superior. They likely pointed to Paul and his struggles as a sign that the Lord was not in his ministry. Those who opposed Paul were ones who would “glory in appearance.” They prided themselves in their credentials. They boasted in their outward appearances.

On the other hand, Paul pointed to something else of which one should boast. It was that which was in the heart. What was in Paul’s heart that was worthy of boasting? It was not his intellect, or fleshly prowess or strength. No, what was in his heart was something that drove him in a way that human strength could never do. It was the manifest presence of the Spirit of Jesus in him. Paul wrote to the Galatians,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV)

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, ESV)

It was an issue of the heart. His heart was filled with the power of God’s grace, manifested by the presence of His indwelling Spirit. Nothing else could explain the inner strength that he had to endure when the world would look upon him as a fool for enduring so much with such great sacrifice. This is his great argument to silence his opponents. It is the understanding that he wanted the Corinthians to have so that they would silence the false teachers.

Our standing firm in the faith, our sacrifice for the message of the gospel, stands as a testimony of God’s grace in us. It is this that reflects the light of God’s glory in a dark world.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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