Confident Exhortation (2 Cor 7:2-4)

Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” (2 Corinthians 7:2–4, KJV)

Some people see the glass half full and some see it half empty. Some see a silver lining on every cloud. Most, like me, tend to ride the rollercoaster of confidence. We go up and down with the circumstances. We must guard against such swings in our lives.

When I ran a manufacturing facility, I discovered how easy it was to become negative when things were not going well. On occasion the crews would struggle for a shift in getting one of our printing presses going. Sometimes it meant missing a customer delivery. My boss, the General Manager, would walk around with a frown on his face which rubbed off on me. As I walked around the facility with that frown on my face, the entire crew eventually began frowning also. You know, it did not make anything better! It had the reverse effect. Everything got worse. Everyone became more defeated and lost confidence. Nothing got better until, I changed my countenance and, in a sense, cheered on the team. I needed to show my confidence in their ability and desire to get the job done with excellence.

As I pastored churches, I discovered the same dynamic at play. I noticed that when I was joyful and confident in the members of the congregation, the church tended to flourish in many ways. However, when I became discouraged, my countenance had a negative influence on those in the body of believers. They needed to see my love for them and my confidence that God was at work in their lives and in the church. They needed to see an exciting God sized vision that He had for us.

When we look at the letters that Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we can see a pattern of struggles that they encountered. He wrote to them with strong words regarding many of these issues. These were tough words, but ones that were necessary. However, when you look at Paul’s heart, you see the heart of a loving and confident shepherd. Moreover, he expressed his heart to them.

In the previous verses he dealt with false teachers who were infiltrating the church with false teaching. That some were falling for them broke Paul’s heart. Yet despite this and other issues, Paul reaffirmed his love for all of them. He stated, “ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.” I believe that the church could sense this love of Paul for them in the effort and afflictions that Paul endured for their sake. This was likely something that they knew was not evident in the false teachers who were outwardly impressive.

Moreover, Paul expressed great confidence in the congregation. He stated, “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” He let them know his feelings of confidence and joy in them. The reason for this confidence was in the providence of God. He knew that God had begun the work in them and that He would complete it (Phil 1:6).

Paul saw the silver lining on the clouds that sometimes rolled by. Let all of us check our negativity at the door. Instead, let us express our love one for another and let us confidently encourage one another. It will make a huge difference in the church and her mission.

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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