Paul sometimes cracks me up! This morning's text is 2 Cor. 3:1-6. In verse 12 (on down the way), Paul declares he uses "great plainness of speech" (KJV). LOL! Ri-i-i-ight..... This declaration comes after all these verses where he calls the Corinthians "letters", using very picturesque, analogical language. Ok then! That Paul...smh.
Well, what IS he talking about here? The central verse of this passage is verse 2:
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
The picture that comes to my mind is that of two lovebirds who choose a hapless tree and carve their initials into it, afterwards carving a heart around them. They do this to express a level of commitment to each other. In more modern times, lovebirds tattoo their love's name on their bodies - - - not recommended, not preferred. But, I digress. It might be helpful to see this passage in The Message version.
Paul is "plainly" stating that the Corinthians are his spiritual offspring, his spiritual children. In using this comparison he is showing how very dear the Corinthians are to him. If you have children, biological or otherwise, as I do, you know that they are "written on your heart", like those initials carved into the tree. Paul felt this way about his spiritual children, and not just the Corinthians, but all those he had been used by God to lead to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
There's a reason I phrased that last sentence so awkwardly. It was important I point out that it was God's Holy Spirit who led "Paul's converts" to faith in Christ. The thing is, when I first had my bio children, I thought that their successes or failures were "all about me". And, no doubt, to a large extent they were and are, because God has given my husband and me that tremendous responsibility to love them, to show them the way of righteousness and to live the Christ-led life before them. It's "all about me" to be faithful to the task I've been given. Then, the results are up to God.
As Paul points out here - - - it is Jesus Christ who writes upon their hearts, to draw them to Him for salvation, to sanctify them as they live their lives. He is the One who "carves into" their lives, as He carves into our own. If you notice in this passage, though, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all three mentioned as doing this "writing" on people's hearts. Isn't that beautiful? We can then humbly tell others about what God is doing or has done ("publishing it", as Paul says), being careful to give Him all the glory for His marvelous works (vs. 5).
When I was a kid, it was common for men to carry coins in their pockets. I have several visual images of men with their hands in their pockets, fingering their change, rocking back and forth from heel to toe and pontificating about some great achievement THEY had done or their children had done, commending themselves.
Every morning, I pray for my biological sons, and also for my spiritual sons and daughters. There are many times I don't understand what God is doing in their lives. Although, seeing God work in their lives often brings me great joy, I confess that it causes me tremendous grief at times. God often does things in ways that make no sense in my limited understanding. But, that is why He is God, and I am not! He is building my faith as I pray and trust Him with my most precious loves. His love, His commitment to His children, is unfailing and eternal. I am sure of this: He deserves the glory in all things, no matter what. He does the carving, the shaping, the making.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Father, thank you for inscribing my loved ones on my heart. What a blessing they are! You are The Waymaker, the Carver, the Shaper. I am your "medium", like clay in Your hands. "Written with Spirit on spirit, His life on our lives!" (vs. 6) All praise goes to You for the way You choose to use me and my loved ones, my spiritual offspring, to bring all the praise and honor and glory to Yourself. In Jesus' name, amen.