For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

2 Corinthians 3: 11, 12

 

Why is it hat we humans have a tendency to grasp hold of the temporary and to hold on as if our lives depended upon it? Here Paul is talking about a rule and works oriented view of how we gain favor with God. He is making reference to what we call the Old Covenant in which our righteousness was dependant upon our efforts. In people’s view of this, what we did was even more important that what we believed in our hearts and our minds. For as long as we acted with concern, care, and compassion toward others; it was alright to despise them and to consider them as inferior. Justice became a rule and an ordinance rather than being the outworking of God within us.

 

Since it is impossible to maintain this sort of effort on our own, human strength has very narrow limits, people are always worn down and worn out by working in this manner. We will never accomplish justice, peace, fairness, and love if they are based upon our capacity for generating and for carrying them out. These are all good things that do come from God, but they fade away when they are enacted out of our perishable and impermanent wills. We also pay a terrible price in the process of trying, for the effort will fail and we will be consumed in the attempt to live inside of the lines of righteousness that we have laid down for ourselves. This generally leads to the despair of failure and to resignation to unfulfilled dreams, and at worst, it leads to compromise of God’s truth for the sake of self protection.

 

Yet, there is another way. The Father has given us Christ’s Spirit to live in and with us. We are not on our own. There is risk involved, however. We are asked to surrender our striving for perfection and our desire to always be right. Christ is very direct in showing us our weakness and our sinful hearts. Yet, He also invites us into His sacrifice for our sakes and brings us into the presence of God, the Father, as fully acceptable and totally forgiven members of that eternal gathering. With Christ as the strength behind our actions we will not grow weary. As we seek God’s will through prayer and contemplation on His Word the Spirit will show the way. In this life of surrender and humble submission to Christ there is peace and strength. Living in this manner grants us the sort of confident boldness that is required to take the glory of God into the darkness of our world.