Read 2 Corinthians 1

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (NIV)

I think a lot of us suffer from “performance anxiety” when it comes to Christian faith. It is especially acute just after hearing a Sunday morning sermon. After listening to the typical sermon with its “should”, “moulds”, and implied “what’s-the-matter-with-you’s”, there is little wonder you have “roast preacher” for Sunday lunch. It’s a matter of self-defence!

But generally speaking, most of us tend, Sunday sermons or no, to be pretty self-critical. Remembrance of the sin of the past week (or months, or years) just won’t go away. Or we feel the guilt of our uninvolvement in witnessing, Bible reading, or church attendance. And we’re a sitting duck for the pointed finger. It’s not easy being a good Christian: it’s hard work!

Thank God for today’s key verse! Here we see our faith as the result of God’s initiative. Notice the strong verbs: He makes us stand firm. He anoints us. He sets His seal of ownership on us. He puts His Spirit in our hearts. He guarantees the future. We are the product of His sovereign grace.

So God takes the initiative. What, then, is our responsibility? Simply to respond. As He gives us a firm stance, we choose to build our lives on the Rock. As He anoints us with His Spirit, we choose to please rather than grieve His indwelling presence. As He declares us His own, we choose to be obedient to His will and loyal to His Son. As He guarantees the future, we enter the future with our eyes set on Him. In other words, we respond with love. In God’s mind, this makes His initiative eternally worthwhile.