The Dark Side of Serving Others
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read the words of the apostle Paul—an honest, humble, transparent servant of God:
For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:5–7)
We Christians have received a priceless treasure (the glorious gospel) in a very frail and perishable container (our weak bodies). There is a reason. So nobody will have any question about the source of power, it must be of God and not of any human origin.
And so—to verify just how frail our humanity is, Paul lists four common struggles servants live with. I'm calling them consequences. Let's see all four in the two verses that follow before we analyze each one in the next few posts.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8–9)
If you have a pencil handy, you might circle the four terms in your Bible: afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down. These are four consequences of serving God. Although we'll unpack and apply these terms in the next few posts, take a moment and read those verses again—emphasizing words you've circled.
Have you experienced these consequences—yet?
Adapted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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