in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,2 Corinthians 6:7(NASB)
The apostolic ministry of Paul, is an example to all of us of a life that was lived for God's glory and praise. The deep love and responsibility he felt towards the whole Body of Christ, is seen in this second letter to the Corinthians.
Paul urged these believers to follow his example and to become triumphant victors in Christ. They were encouraged to glory in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and to draw power and strength from God, knowing that like Paul, all God's children have this same, heavenly treasure indwelling and empowering our earthly, mortal bodies!
In this passage, the apostle detailed the characteristics of a man or woman of God, together with the distinctive marks of a minster of the gospel who is living a life that honours his Lord.
The first distinguishing feature of a true servant of God, is one who demonstrates great endurance in the midst of trials and difficulties, while at the same time maintaining a deep regard for the well-being of others who are going through their own troubles and adversities.
Paul listed some of the many problematic circumstances that he himself had endured for the sake of the gospel, which included hardships and distresses, imprisonments and riots, beatings and hard work, sleepless nights and severe hunger.
Although not every child of God will be called upon to endure all types of hardships, Paul points out certain godly qualities that will be developed when we endure life's difficult circumstances with patient endurance and a heart that trusts God's precious promises.
Purity, understanding, patience, kindness, sincerity, and love are just some of the spiritual fruit that are likely to blossom in the life of a believer who suffers such hardships for righteousness' sake.
Paul's apostolic ministry is an example for us all to emulate, and in this verse he explained the reason he had to undergo the different troubles and trials he listed; Paul was faithful to lift up the name of Jesus and preach the gospel of Christ, which is an offence to the world: "For the word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Paul proclaimed the gospel "in truthful speech; in the power of God and by the weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left." Paul spoke the word of truth through the power of God wherever he went. He declared the veracity of the glorious gospel of grace, honestly, without compromise, and irrespective of the consequences.
Paul was not ashamed to preach the gospel of Christ wherever he went, for he knew that it was the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, but he relied on the sustaining power of God in the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to keep him and equip him in his task.
Paul also knew that spiritual wickedness in high places would seek to disrupt his important ministry, but as a soldier of Christ, he relied on the weapons of righteousness which the Lord Himself provides – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
When we as children of God are empowered by His Spirit, we have an assurance that no matter from what direction the attacks of the enemy may come, we are enabled to stand fast "by the Word of truth; in the power of God and by the weapons of righteousness – both on the right hand and on the left."
May we truly stand firm in the evil day and grow in grace and wisdom and a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour in Whom we trust, for He alone is worthy of all praise.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the ministry and witness of Paul and the many things I can learn from his dedicated attitude in sharing the truth of the Gospel. I praise and thank You for the assurance that I also have, that You are my Defence and my Defender and I can trust You no matter what difficulties or dangers I may encounter. May You be glorified in my life, and may I speak the Word of truth boldly, in the power of God, taking up the weapons of righteousness wherever I go. In Jesus' name, AMEN.