Have you ever had a time in your life when you crave spending time with Him? Where not only do you desire that closeness, that intimacy with Him, but you find yourself talking about Him. A lot. But talking in a way that is just every day conversation, and it just flows naturally. Because your heart has become so in tune with His, it’s overflowing and pouring out.
That is the way it is with Paul. When I read this section of scripture, I visualize his hand–I picture him as a lefty–frantically writing these words, barely legible to anyone but him. He just can’t write the words fast enough. He can’t get them down on paper as fast as he wants to share them. These words are simply bursting out of Him, and he is filled with joy–despite his current situation. He has fallen so in love with Christ, that he just wants the world to know Him too.
Paul describes two types of people sharing the gospel: those preaching with selfish ambition and those with pure motives. After Paul describes those teaching the gospel without sincere hearts, I wanted him to say something like, “disregard what they teach.” But he doesn’t. His focus is sharing the gospel to as many people as possible. He goes as far a saying “the motive doesn’t matter to me,” [v.18] as long as Christ is taught. Mind you, Paul does not approve their motives: not in the least bit. But he doesn’t claim to be God–he can’t judge another man’s heart. So instead, Paul chooses to encourage the sharing of Christ to those who haven’t heard it yet.
He ends this chapter with a challenge, bringing us back to the important One: Christ. Regardless of opposition or suffering, it is Christ who saves. It is Christ who unites us.
- It’s a slippery slope when we begin to assign motives to another one’s heart. Is there an example of this in your life? Take this time to ask God to help you release that to Him: remember He is the only one who can see the heart.
- Close your eyes and imagine Paul. He is in prison. He is in chains. He is suffering, yet He never stops sharing the gospel message. Apply this to your life: what have you allowed to stand in the way of sharing the gospel?
- Find a blank page and start writing a prayer. Mark this day as the start of a life that is overflowing with Christ’s love and joy.