We should share the gospel with others whenever we can. But our actions should validate our words.
People want to see if the gospel makes any difference in the way we live. In the way we treat others or go through tough times. Our lives can actually hinder people from believing in Jesus. A friend of mine had terrible experiences with his superior at work who claimed to be a Christian. The man’s life did not match his words at all. In 2 Corinthians 6 Paul said he was very conscious of commending his words by his lifestyle:
We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way (3-4)
So how did Paul commend himself? And how can we commend ourselves?
First of all, we commend ourselves by endurance
by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; (4-5)
When we go through tough times people are watching us – our neighbors, our children, our fellow believers. Will we continue to trust God and rejoice in him in the bad times as well as sleep good? Remember when Paul and Silas were in stocks in prison? They sang hymns and the other prisoners were listening (Acts 16.25). When we trust God in hardship it speaks loudly to all around us.
Secondly, we commend ourselves by genuine love for others
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; (6)
Our God loved us first so we should love others. First of all our Christian brothers and sisters, but all men as well. People are watching to see if we are “genuine,” sincere, not hypocrites. Do we “love” others for what we will gain, or do we love them with genuine love?
We commend ourselves by honesty
by truthful speech (7)
God never lies or deceives anyone. So his children should be the most truthful and dependable people on earth. If we say we’re going to do something we should do it. We should be honest about our failures and weaknesses.
We commend ourselves by God’s power
and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left (7)
Whenever you can ask if you can pray for someone. If your neighbor is sick or going through a tough time ask if you can pray for him. God may display his power in their lives.
We commend ourselves by responding with love when we are sinned against
through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed (8-9)
When someone insults us we don’t respond in kind, but with love. When someone slanders us we don’t slander them in return but pray for them.
We commend ourselves by rejoicing in affliction
as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything (10).
When we rejoice in the midst of sorrow it shows our children, fellow believers, and unbelievers we truly believe God works all things for our good and that he is preparing an eternal weight of glory for us. When we seek to make others rich we show them where are true treasure is. We are free from the love of money because Christ makes us content.
Remember our lives speak as loudly as our words and sometimes more loudly. Today let’s ask Jesus to help us commend ourselves, and more importantly, to help us commend him to others by our lives.