(2 Corinthians 1:1-7)
In this second letter of Paul to the church at Corinth we see him answer a number of questions and issues raised in the first letter. While the first letter was quite stern in a number of places, this second letter is more conciliatory.
Paul emphasises the need to walk in love more in this letter. He shows that, while there are circumstances that require strict action in the first letter, there is also the time to turn and offer compassion, mercy and love. When the one who sinned or was in the wrong turns and repents, then they should be offered forgiveness and reconciliation.
And we see this attitude come through strongly right from the beginning of this letter where Paul writes about the need to comfort those who have turned from their erroneous ways and returned to the Lord.
Now anyone who is a Christian will be well aware that it is not an easy walk.
We are seeking a better life than what this world has to offer and by stepping away from this world we will be afflicted. There will be influences from the people of the world, from the satanic spiritual realm, and hardest of all, from the passions and desires of our own flesh.
When we walk in Christ we learn that we are at war in the spirit, and war of any kind is hard and filled with suffering. There are numerous scriptures that bear testimony to the afflictions we will suffer. For example:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. – (1 Peter 2:11)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. – (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? – (James 4:1)
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – (Ephesians 6:11-12)
So as you see from this sample (and there are many others) we are at war in many ways and where there is war there will be afflictions, persecutions and suffering.
God of Comfort
But God, being aware that we would have to go through all of these things has prepared weapons of warfare in the spiritual realm to help us.
First and foremost, God sent Jesus to die for our sins and to release us from the law. In Jesus Christ, God established the new covenant as the way for us to come to Him and receive the promises of God.
Jesus gave us all we need to know, teaching the early disciples who then transcribed that information into the letter and books we hold today as the bible. Everything we need to know is given to us for God wants us to be able to fight the good fight of the faith and to stand mature in Christ, ready to receive the promises of God.
He also gave us the Holy Spirit to teach, counsel, guide and comfort us as we walk. The power of the Holy Spirit is a weapon we are given to fight against all of the attacks of the devil, plus the internal war we wage against the flesh and the propensity for sinfulness.
As a result we take comfort in knowing these things because God is good and He cares for us in all ways. This is a great comfort and we need to recall and remember these things as we go through the sufferings that will certainly come.
You Are Not Alone
And there is one other thing that comes out of these words in the first few verses of 2 Corinthians. Paul is clearly showing that as we go through the trials, tribulations and troubles that come with walking in Jesus Christ, we can use that experience to help others.
We receive help when we need it as we struggle, and then as we learn the lessons we can assist others who need help in their time of need.
Paul says that just as we are comforted by God through His help in times of need, we can then take that comfort to help others as they go through tribulations.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
So take these words to heart. Accept the comfort of the Lord and from others when you are struggling, and give comfort to others who are going through the same issues you have suffered.
The old saying that you can’t know another person until you walk a mile in their shoes was never more applicable than in this situation.
Knowing there is nothing new under the sun, especially as it relates to these matters, we can take comfort from those around us who have been through the same issues. We can learn from their experiences and hopefully not suffer the same traps and pitfalls they went through.
And likewise we can offer guidance to those who are suffering where we have been through the same things. Whether it be attacks from the devil or temptations, if we have “been there and done that,” we can guide those who are going through the same things.
So let us all take comfort in knowing that God has provided not just victory, but comfort through that victory.
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