I am sure everyone can relate to a time in their life when we experienced or witnessed something extraordinary. It might have been winning a game by one point, beating an opponent that far outranked you, or beating cancer. During any of those events that you had been a part of, there was a point of time in that battle when you felt defeated, wanted to throw in the towel, and wanted to do nothing but “let it be.” The end of the story that you thought you had predicted was proven wrong when you became victorious. We have a thing or two to learn about Paul in 2 Corinthians.
Paul preached his Gospel boldly. When Paul thought about the purpose of his calling, it gave him the heart to face all his difficulties. We often lose heart because we do not consider how great a calling God gives us in Jesus. Many of us could think that Paul was a conceited know-it-all while he was proclaiming his Gospel. However, he goes on to talk about mercy. He knew his calling in ministry was not by his own works, but by mercy. Mercy is so undeserved. Paul also preached his Gospel with humility and honor.
Paul was a true man of God. Anyone could look at his Gospel and what he did in his ministry and see that they could honestly say that it was full of integrity. There was nothing hidden or watered down in his Gospel. It was the raw truth. There was nothing added or taken away.
My favorite part of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 is verse 6 (NIV), “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” God gives us the light of knowing God’s Word, and we have the responsibility and calling to get it out to others. He “shined His light in” so that we could “shine His light out.”
This reminded me of a movie called “Coach Carter.” The plot of the movie takes place in a very rough part of town where a majority of minors were destined to be in jail or dead. Coach Carter disciplined these young men and gave them extreme choices to become better men. In a pinnacle point of the movie, a student stood up after a traumatic event happened in his life and quoted Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
If we implemented this principle of letting our light shine without fear, the kingdom of God could thrive beyond our own understanding and likewise allow those around us to do the same.