Read 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10

…We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute.

We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see–we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

from Rev. Don Snyder, First Christian Church, Beckley:

Paul understood the prosperity Gospel of his day. Namely, if we are faithful, then God will bless us in tangible ways. However, the journey of faith begins with the acknowledgement of sin, and the grace of God (the cross) that covers my sin. In bearing my affliction in His body, Jesus sets the example of affliction for his disciples. We may experience affliction from outside forces (beatings and imprisonment) that are beyond my control, or I may experience suffering because of inner turmoil (controlling speech and righteous living). Nevertheless, no matter how difficulty the hardships I have to endure become, they pale in comparison to the unsurpassable grace of God in the salvation offered through Jesus.

Help me, O God, to recognize your power at work in my life,
and trust your word that it is greater than the forces all around me.