Monday, December 23, 2013

DAY 583 - What Does A Successful Christian Look Like? (請按此處收聼廣東話Cantonese podcast click here)

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                               Today's Reading: 2 Corinthians 7:2-10

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Bible Study

     Do you want to be a successful Christian? Do you think Paul is a successful Christian? Well, if Paul is not a successful Christian, who can claim that he can be more successful than Paul? But, today's passage seems giving out something normal people see as not successful. Why? Paul describes himself as:
bodies had no rest; afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within; downcast; waiting Titus to comfort him…

     That seems the picture of a weak leader, a leader who fail in his ministry and being casted away. Ah! That is exactly how Paul is a successful Christian! 

Bishop N.T. Wright says ( ) :
     What is your image of what a successful Christian ought to look like?  Do you have in the back of your mind a picture of a person who goes through life in perfect faith and trust, obedient to God in everything, never afraid of what may lie in wait around the next corner, always rejoicing even in adversity?
     Do you find this image a bit depressing sometimes?  It seems so unreal, so unlike not only our own lives but those of all the people we know well.  Of course there are moments of joy, or celebration, of faith, of hope and of love.  But the course of Christian living doesn't run smoothly, and we all know it…
     If you want to know what it looks like and feels like to have no anxiety about anything, committing it all to God, come with Paul as he struggles along the road, exhausted and emotionally drained after his terrible experiences in Ephesus…   

N.T. Wright. Paul for Everyone:2 Corinthians. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p.76.

     So, how does Paul's words help you to understand more about the meaning of true success? Do you have a different picture of what a successful Christian should look like now? 

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage of scripture we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe":

Spiritual Journal

    What I heard from Jesus today is: What does a successful Christian look like?

    What I got from Jesus today is a very important question for all Christians. There are quite a number of Christians living a life just like those worldly successful and wealthy people. Everything good, beautiful, powerful and excessive. Failure and downcast never happen in their vocabulary. Not sure when they go home at night they are downcast, but never show to other people.

     Paul is different. He shows his true self, his pain, his downcast and his longing to be comfort by God and his close partners. What a difference!

     What kind of success do you want? Are you on the right path of being a successful Christian?

Dear Lord Jesus, 
Lead us to be able to show our true self and vulnerability so that we can be a real successful Christian glorifying your Holy Name and extending your powerful Kingdom. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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