1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 26

Living Letters

by

Today's Text: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18, Jeremiah 31:31-34, 1 John 3:2

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18, Jeremiah 31:31-34, 1 John 3:2

As someone whose greatest love language is words of affirmation, handwritten letters are a huge deal to me. My mom put a note in my lunchbox every day when I was growing up. My friends and family wrote letters to me before I left to study abroad for a semester. And my best friend knows that the quickest way to brighten my day is a quick note delivered with a fresh cup of coffee. I keep a box of letters from loved ones on my desk to read when I’m having a hard day. They have brought me encouragement in my darkest moments, reminding me that I am loved and cherished.

In the days of the early Church, letters served an even greater purpose than they do now. Letters functioned similarly to recommendation letters written for employment or educational purposes; they were vouchers for people when they entered into new churches and new communities.

When I was applying for graduate school last spring, I toiled over choosing the professors and mentors who I would ask to write my recommendation letters. I wanted to make sure they had the best impression of me. I wanted to be confident I was worthy of their recommendation, that the letters they sent to admissions offices would include the best version of me I could present. And so I sent those professors my most stacked resume and the best version of my application essays. In short, I wanted to prove I was good enough—both to the people writing my recommendation letters, and to the people who would read them.

When Paul tells the Corinthians that they are Christ’s living letters, he’s reminding them of their identity as the people of God. He’s reminding them of who they are, of their identity as the body of Christ. He’s reminding them that the Spirit of God has written the law of love on their hearts, doing away with the old covenant and making way for a brand new one: the covenant they can be part of because of Christ Jesus. Our recommendations and our accolades don’t hold any weight in the new covenant because “our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Our worth and our confidence are in Christ Jesus—not in ourselves, nor in the things that are praised by others.

We, too, are able to be a part of this new covenant—the covenant that replaced the law of Moses and gave us the ability to act in boldness. This covenant gives us life, hope, and freedom.

SRT-Corinthians-Shareimage-Day26

Ellen Taylor was born and raised in sweet home Alabama, but has called Nashville home since 2013. When she’s not working as the editorial assistant at She Reads Truth, you can find her enjoying good food and good conversation with her friends and family. She is a lover of iced coffee, ugly dogs, and the Oxford comma.

  • Megan M.

    I’m in law school, where my worth feels like it comes from my academic successes in relation to my peers. This could not be more timely. I’m so glad that I read this today instead of last month, because I needed this right now.

  • KC Derond

    So many things to be thankful for with the new covenant! Thank you Jesus!

  • Cassi Sultemeier

    You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are Christ’s letter, delivered by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God — not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – I honestly don’t ever think I have heard this before, or if I did, I quickly passed over it. I teach English and like to write so this metaphor touched me deeply. Remember that church-y saying, “You may be the only Bible someone ever reads.” That’s what I think of when I read this.

  • Heather Ward

    Verse 18 really struck me today “(we) are being transformed into the same image (the glory of the Lord) from glory to glory.” Being transformed. A process, we are not there yet. Praise Jesus for His patience and that the transformation is happening as we seek him.

  • Brianna Foshie

    I rarely ask for prayers but there is a girl in my town who had a double lung transplant one year ago. She’s since caught the flu and many many other viruses and her body has started to reject her new lungs that God gave her. Her doctors can’t give her any medicine for her newest infection and they don’t know if she will make it out alive this time. Please pray for her and her family and friends as they transition through this time. She has been so faithful and ever praising to God even in her situation and I know God has planned to use her to spread His love.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Brianna, we’re so sorry to hear this. We appreciate you sharing this with us and we’ll definitely be praying for your friend and her family during this time. We’re grateful that you’re here. -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Ashley Woodham

    I work in a corporate world. I work as hard as I can and a lot of the time put work in front of my family. I have a peer who lies on me to make herself look good and it bares on me so hard because I feel it makes me look bad when I am trying to grow my career there and I want to look good to leadership. But I know I am different called to be like Christ and to swallow my pride and trust him with my career. This is so hard, please pray and I try to fight this anxiety that try’s to creep in.

    • Laura

      Ashley – I completely understand your struggles. I work in academia and hope to transition to becoming a professor soon, so I too am putting in a lot of time at work when I could be with family and friends. My boss is callous and hurtful, and does not foster an environment that makes it easy for me to grow as a researcher. When my circumstances have me down, I have to remember that I am set aside for a higher calling and that God has my life under control. I will pray that you and I can both experience continual peace of mind that our life is more than our career, and that we belong to Jesus no matter what.

  • Monica Davis

    Living epistles!

  • Churchmouse

    I love to read my heavenly Father’s letters. All 66.

  • Hi friends, would appreciate some prayer. Almost gave into temptation to an old sin (pornography-not deep into it but skimming the surface). It has been a struggle for awhile (I wish I could say otherwise), and although I am definitely recovering, I’m still tempted. I am learning so much and God has taught me so much already this year. So thankful for such amazing friends and family, and a God who loves me in the middle of my sin. Definitely feel like I am getting stronger from this and am growing more with the Lord, but just want to snuff it out once and for all!! Would love and appreciate your prayers. Love you all!

    • Suzi

      Praying for you, sweet sister! I have struggled with (and sometimes still do struggle with) that, so I know how hard it can be to resist that temptation and not let shame take over. The Lord has created a NEW THING in you and you are a new creation!

      • Sarah D.

        Thank you so much!! I listened to a Breakaway Ministries series on pornography (and The Porch at Watermark church has some that are really good also) that has helped a lot, in case you want to check it out too, very practical and encouraging.

    • Bunny Perry

      Praying for you. May you feel the Lords loving arms around you. Will add you to my prayer book.

    • Tanya R

      Partnering in prayer with you. I pray that God can fulfill and replace triggers and anxieties that weigh in your heart. And that no matter how much the temptation, His Grace is bigger to cover all.

    • Brianna Foshie

      The thing with temptation is that it doesn’t go away. The devil will always come to you dressed in whatever he knows will break you. It’s you who has to lean wholly on God and let him deal with the temptation. Give him your battles. I want to challenge you and anyone else who might be struggling with this…any time you feel the temptation to look or think “oh just the once won’t hurt anything” run to your bible and read, read until your eyes get tired and the temptation fades. The Gospel has always helped me and I know it can help you too.

    • Anna Goroncy

      Hi Sarah, I’ve been walking out of some similar sin recently and when I was prayed for the person called out shame. So much of this type of sin is just that – shame. And that’s what the enemy wants. But God has already forgiven you and just as Jeremiah said he will forgive our iniquity and never again remember the sin. I pray that every time you’re tempted you will turn a little bit faster to him, and never let shame pull you back down. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom.

  • Ladies, I rarely comment, but I read and pray for requests and am greatly encouraged by others comments. I am asking today for prayers for my sister’s family. She received news last night that her son was killed in a tragic accident. He leaves a wife and a four year old daughter. There are other family issues, such as a daughter in jail that will need to be told and very limited finances. We are in Alaska for the summer so can’t really help her as far as being with her. Just asking that you pray as the Lord leads you. She said last night that she is already seeing good come from this in that all her extended family gathered around her last night. Thank you in advance for praying!

    • Sarah D.

      So sorry to hear this, Susan. Praying for your sister’s family.

    • Tina

      oh Susan… I am so so sorry for your loss. Praying for the family and all who have lost this loved one…
      God be with you all…

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Susan, we’re so sorry to hear this. Our team will definitely be praying for your sister’s family during this time. We appreciate you sharing this with us. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Julie

      So sorry for your loss. Lifting you all in prayer that your sister’s family’s needs be met financially. I pray they get much needed support and that they feel God’s love surrounding them.

    • Bunny Perr

      Praying for everyone. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Anne

      Susan this is heartbreaking. Sometimes it seems the only way to get thru is to focus on what is to come when we are all with Jesus. Praying for you and your family.

  • Julie, lifting you up in prayer. I hope you have someone in your life to share this all with and can support you on this difficult journey. God Bless!

  • So many wonderful parts of the scripture jumped out to me today, but really for me, it is all wrapped into this statement: “You show that you are Christ’s letter…not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God–not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” Paul tells us to “have confidence through Christ,” and “have hope and act with great boldness.” I too thrive on words of affirmation; knowing that it is such a powerful way to express love to one another and most certainly Christ’s love, maybe…just maybe my focus needs to be more on expressing the love of Christ to others around me and not so much on receiving affirmation from “the world.”

  • I posted this on yesterday’s reading realizing the website hadn’t updated as yet. I thank you for reading my prayer request.

    Dear SRT sisters may I ask for prayers. I am going through a challenging time. My fears anxieties and worries have taken over. I feel under attack and dearly need support. I am in therapy and attend support groups but still feel overtaken by my circumstances. I ask for forgiveness for my doubts and confess that my faith has been weakened by this. I have lost confidence and pray to know God’s will for me. I want to give this burden to him knowing he cares for me more than I know. That God truly loves me. But the struggle to feel that in my heart has been difficult. Every part of my life is in need of restoration. I pray for spiritual, mental and physical healing to be whole again. I pray to be surrounded by support and to feel His everlasting loving arms around me. To know He is sheltering me and has me covered with His armor and protection. Psalm 91:4. I have great needs such as to find safe products to use due to chemical allergies( and the confidence to try them-this has been so difficult for me but I need to begin this process such fear here), a job that can sustain me (my spousal support is ending and I had tried to prepare for this but had life circumstances hit hard), a new place to live that will be comfortable and a place to truly call home that I can also furnish ( I do not have living room or dining room furniture). I also have medical bills coming in that I will need to pay and this has been overwhelming me. I feel so under pressure from all of this. I pray that God will see me through this and I will come out the other side healed and whole again. I am having a hard time believing in this and would truly appreciate your prayers. Thank you so very much.

    • Kay

      Dear Julie,
      You are certainly under attack by the enemy and it sounds like it is coming from all sides right now. Although you don’t “feel” your faith, your have tthe depths of your heart or you wouldn’t be reaching out. HOLD ON to what you know–God loves you! He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you! Keep holding onto scripture….find a church to help you through this most difficult time and surround you (physically and spiritually) with the love of Christ.
      I am praying for right now dear sister.

    • Kelly Chataine

      Julie, you are in my prayers now and will be going forward. If God nudges you in this direction, I will help you!
      Remember:
      You are a child of God ~ Heir to the King ~ Sister of Christ ~ You are God’s beloved ~ You are the head and not the tail ~ You are above and not below ~ He knows you and calls you by name
      Much love to you, Julie!!!

    • Toy Washington

      1 Peter 5:7

    • Leah

      So sorry to hear of your struggles, Julie! Said a prayer for you today: Father God, thank you for being our Good Shepherd, and for knowing exactly what we need at all times. I ask you to make yourself known in real and specific ways to Julie right now and give her comfort and encouragement. I ask you to provide for her needs financially and for a home and furniture. And most of all, provide her with good support through her therapist and brothers and sisters around her. May she know she is loved and cherished. Strengthen her faith and help her to hang on to your truth. Amen.

    • Tina

      Dear Julie…. Thank you for reaching out to us here at SRT…. We are family even though we some of us are across ponds away …
      I will be lifting you up now and for the foreseeable… God has heard your words today… the ones you have written and He is I am sure, working on them as I write.. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us… He promises to provide… if the birds in the air… how much more you… your fsitj may be struggling, but the fact that you are asking for us to pray, Jesus said all you need is mustard size faith and God will do something with that…
      Do not be anxious about anything in all things through prayer lean on Him who can do much more than we can imagine.. hold fast to Him Julie, He’s already got this… though it may not seem like it now… believe you have already received… He is good… He never disappoints…
      Sending love wrapped hugs across the pond filled with prayers of peace of heart. Xxx

    • Maeve Hinze

      Julie- you are being held in the arms of the Father. We, your community are present with you in your struggle. You have sisters ALL over the world who are with you in this battle and are fighting for you. The Lord himself is fighting for you as well.

      I come to you as a sister and suggest this and I hope it doesn’t sound sales pitchy. But have you ever heard of Norwex products? They are chemical free cleaning products. I have many friends who have discovered a lot of peace in the midst of their allergies by using their products. https://norwex.com/

      I am hopeful and confident that the Lord will lead you to both physical and mental peace in this season. Please know you are not alone.

    • Carrie Doss

      Just remember that while you may not see God’s plan, it doesn’t mean that He isn’t working towards what is best for you.

      When I am having trouble and feeling the anxiety steal my life, I always refer to Psalm 18. The whole of it is a Psalm for Deliverance, but the verse that always stands out for me is Psalm 18:28. “My God illuminates my darkness.”

      Prayers for you Julie. May He illuminate the darkness for you. He is our light, our love, our way.

    • Sarah D.

      Praying for your Julie! You are so loved!

    • Irina

      Julie, hold on there, dear sister. May I chip in a little to help you? Do you have an address where I can send you money? My email is [email protected] if you’ll decide to let me know. Much love to you from our Father God and His Son Jesus Christ.

      • Kara

        Life can feel so overwhelming at times. I find myself crying “come Lord Jesus!” Praying for peace and joy to flood into your life.

    • Kristen

      Please remember that He is with you even when you don’t feel Him. This is the verse of the day on the Bible app; 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭7‬ NIV) That’s my prayer for you. Also, may God give you His joy which will be your strength. May you receive healing in all areas too. I don’t know if you ever read the devotionals at Proverbs 31 Ministry. There was one this week written called: Kill the spider. There’s a book by that title too. The man talks about his struggles and advice his dad gave him. Check it out at http://www.proverbs31.org. That is great that you are seeking counseling. I know that I still repeat things I’ve learned from mine. I’m sorry to hear all of this. I’ve been through so much too, but God is faithful and able to do abundantly more than we can ask or think, May God bless you in Jesus’ Powerful Name Amen

    • Kathy Valentine

      Praying for victory for you, Julie. I fight against similar demons and it can be exhausting. The spirits of fear, worry, anxiety, depression, and despair are relentless, but we have victory in Jesus. Keep claiming that. Two things that have helped me are the group Celebrate Recovery (find one at a church near you) and the book Faith is Not a Feeling by Ney Bailey. You will recover. It takes time but you have access to every resource in the kingdom to demolish strongholds and defeat the enemy. Holding you up in my prayers with love and understanding.

    • Jocelyn Hammer

      Julie, can I encourage you to see a doctor? Our mental health has repercussions for the rest of our health. There may be medication that will help you. Please don’t give up, but do rest and remember that God loves and cares for you just as you are.

  • Ellen Taylor… you and I must be related… I love to write letters too… I feel emails do not say what i want to convey as well as a handwritten, ink to paper, words from the heart. Words flow and between the squiggles and daydreams live words of hope, love… joy.
    I love to write letters..

    When I was at boarding school my dear Daddy would write to me every week ( and most weekends… he would travel 100 miles to visit). I looked forward to his words of how things were going st home, news of my brother and what he was up to… the dog and her antics… mum and how she was fairing…how grandma was looking forward to seeing me in the holidays.. Letters, handwritten and personal, no matter the content have a way of comforting. . They for sure carried for me, through those long school terms, hope and love and they brought peace in the folds of the familiar lined paper and ink…
    Some time after Daddy died, i received a letter, addressed, in that familiar comforting hand.. my heart missed a few beats and actually I did not open the letter for a few days as my heart hurt to know this would be the last ever letter I would receive from my dad.. The words were as always, reassuring and encouraging.. loving and hope filled and oh that wonderful signature… Your Ever Daddy… tears roll down my face as i recall..
    If this is what an earthly father’s words can do… how much more the Word of the Father God…
    I was absolutely blessed to have the dad I had.. but to know my Father God.. and His love. Grace. Mercy. Protection. Provision. Hope. Hope. Hope… whoa.. that is something else.. Daddy’s words had always been a lifeline to home and him..
    But God’s Word is a lifeline to ALL that can be and will be.. freedom… love.. eternity…HOPE…
    Thank you Lord God thank you for everything.. everything. Xxx
    Happy Friday sisters. Praying Our Father on Heaven turn His face to shine on you and yours this weekend in all you do, say and are.. hugs always…xxx

    • sue

      Tina, I look forward so to your response to our lessons. Thanking God everyday for YOU. I know…, but God, … God put you here me! Thank you Jesus.

    • Cindy

      Tina, it’s beautiful to me that our Father gifted you with the wonderful gift of WORDS, and that your earthly father encouraged and nourished that in you by his example… That’s a beautiful thing, and I thank you so much for your sharing your wisdom thru your words…

    • Cynthia Johnston

      Thank you,Jesus, for our precious sister,Tina! ♥️

    • Tanis

      What a beautiful testament to the power of written words and your Ever Daddy. Beautiful. I’m writing in a journal bible for my oldest son right now hoping that someday as he reads my words they will penetrate his heart. He is almost 18 and very scared about his future. Trying to find his place in this world as he is starting his senior year of high school. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of a parents words. We have huge impact and influence for good. We must be obedient and walk in it even when we feel like they are not listening. Thank you Tina!

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