The thing that stands out to me in 2 Corinthians 4 is verse 13: “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak”. This to me encompasses the motivation to evangelize, be involved in missions, and any other effort to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The effect of grace on our lives, the change brought about by faith, should be so great that we are naturally inclined to tell others about it. We believe, therefore we speak. The more I delve into the Scriptures, the more I come to the realization that the ordinances and purposes of our faith (baptism, communion, prayer, missions, evangelism, worship, etc.) are not tasks to be fulfilled, but rather responses to what God has already done for us. They should be the natural inclination of a spirit that has been saved from the pit of destruction and the miry clay (Psalm 40:2). We tend to treat these things as a check list that we robotically complete and then check off so as to say to God, “See, I’ve done all that You have asked of me.” The correct mindset, however, is not that we have to do these things, but that we want to do them. They are responses to the awesome works that God has done, both generally for all mankind (Creation, the redemptive work of Christ), and specifically in my life (my personal salvation and sanctification). “We also believe, therefore we also speak.”
Paul, however, does not simply end after this verse. He goes on to deal with why we often do not speak, why we do not respond as we should. One of the tools that Satan may try to use to stifle the spread of the Gospel is persecution. It may be physical persecution as is faced in Afghanistan, China, and many other parts of the world or it may be emotional persecution as is faced by many in more open countries such as America (i.e., being labeled “intolerant” or a “right-wing radical” or being isolated from friends and family for being a little “out there”), but persecution can often be a great deterrent for Christians. Paul, therefore, reminds his readers that “momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Our reward in heaven will be far greater than any persecution we will face on here on Earth. He even goes on to remind us to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Its all about perspective. As long as we are looking at things through an earthly lens, we will be intimidated by the world into incorrect responses to God’s love. When we look at the world through a spiritual lens, however, we will be freed to respond correctly: to translate our belief into speech, to respond to God’s call into the missions field, to make worship about Him instead of about us.
Lord, help me not to focus on myself, my momentary struggles, or the possible earthly consequences of aligning myself with You. Instead, help me to focus on the unseen — the eternal — so that I may correctly respond to Your love, grace, and salvation.