LORD, GIVE ME the GUMPTION TO FUNCTION WITH UNCTION… (Part 2)


2 Corinthians 4:1 – “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”  NKJV

Not only is this ministry entrusted to each of us GLORIOUS and something that should inspire us in the face of any and all trials, but there is also more.  Consider with me some additional aspects to this ministry or assignment we have been given by the LORD.

  • OUR MINISTRY IS, TO GOD, A VALUABLE TREASURE – – (4:7-12).

Paul was a master teacher and his instructions were always detailed and incredibly complete.  He takes an orderly path that is easy to follow moving from the Glory of the New Creation (Salvation) to the humility of the clay vessel (Man).  He teaches without hesitation that a believer is simply a “Jar of Clay.”  It is not the pot but the treasure in the pot that makes it valuable.

God made each of us unique and in our uniqueness, He has enabled us to do that which He has called us to do.  What I am assigned will not work for you because you were not made for my calling nor I yours.  We see that amplified in Acts 9:15, “He (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles.”  I am totally convinced that no believer should ever complain to God because of any seeming lack in their gift(s) or abilities, limitations, or handicaps.  God made you for His purposes!  If you will examine Psalm 139:13-16 you will discover that our genetic structure is in the hands of God and each of us must accept himself to be himself.

The most important thing about a vessel is that it must be CLEAN, EMPTY, and AVAILABLE for service.  Each of us should have as our spiritual objective to be “a vessel of honor, sanctified [set apart], and meet for the master’s use, and prepared for every good work.”  [2 Timothy 2:21].  We are vessels and as earthen vessels; we must depend on God’s Power and not our own.  The vessel by itself is nothing but filled with the Power of God is incredibly valuable and useful.  Paul never feared trials, because he was totally confident that God would guard His treasure.  God is not glorified in our super-human efforts but in our trusting Him in the midst of weakness.

  • OUR MINISTRY BURSTS FORTH FROM A CONFIDENCE IN FAITH – (4:13-18).

I find the phrase “spirit of faith” interesting and realize that it means “attitude or outlook of faith.”  It is a view from faith.  Paul was not referring to the gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9 but of the attitude, the believer should possess and manifest daily.  He clearly identified with the Psalmist in 116:10, “I believed, and therefore I have spoken.”  I believe that any true witness for God is based on Faith in God and this faith comes from God’s Word (Romans 10:17). 

The apostle Paul was confident, but about what?  He had no fear of what life or death might bring to him.  He had trials and affirmed that his confidence in God (Faith) had brought him through in victory each time.  He had some incredible assurances. 

In (v.14) we discover that he has completely sure of his ultimate victory in Jesus.  After all, if Jesus had conquered death, why should Paul fear anything?  It has been said that until a person is prepared for death he is not prepared for life.  Paul was also sure that in his service God would be glorified (v.15).  This verse parallels Romans 8:28 beautifully.  Paul was also certain that his trials were working for him not against him. (vv.16-17).

As Christians, in a very real sense, we live one day at a time.  We move from glory to glory and victory to victory in Jesus.  Someone said to me once, “I’m storing up grace for emergencies.”  I do not believe that possible but believe that there is sufficient grace when grace is needed. (Hebrews 4:16).  There is an old adage that says:  “Yard by yard, life is hard but inch by inch, life is a cinch.”  Notice in (v.17) Paul says his trials are “light afflictions” and momentary but it is working for him producing ETERNAL BENEFIT.” 

Paul was 100% convinced the invisible world of God was real.  A.W. Tozer said that the invisible world described in the Bible is the ONLY REAL WORLD that exists.  The heroes of faith achieved what they achieved because they SAW THE INVISIBLE. They saw the world that can only be seen by faith or through faith. 

  • OUR MINISTRY IS POWERFUL BECAUSE WE HAVE A FUTURE AND A HOPE – (5:1-8).

Yes, we are looking for a city and longing for heaven but while we are here, we have work to do and we can tackle the assignments given us with confidence that God will never forsake us and we have a future and a hope.  We KNOW God and His Word. We GROAN for completion through the Spirit of God.  We are CONFIDENT that what He has begun in us He will complete.

God bless you as you embark on today’s journey!

LORD, GIVE ME the GUMPTION TO FUNCTION WITH UNCTION…


2 Corinthians 4:1 – “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”  NKJV

I hope that you will take the time to read from Chapter 4 verse 1 to Chapter 5 verse 8 for the foundation of what I want us to consider for this devotional. 

As I examine scripture and read the writings of the various contributors to the Old and New Testaments, I find that it is never difficult to discover what was on their minds at any given moment. That is especially true with the apostle Paul.  He reveals it in verse 1 and again in verse 16… DO NOT LOSE HEART!  In the KJV it is rendered “we faint not.”  The literal rendering is “we do not lose heart.” 

Even a casual reader of the New Testament would find it difficult to overlook the many reasons for discouragement in Paul’s life.  However, He refused to quit!  He did not spend time lamenting over his difficulties and complaining as we often do. During his difficulties he sought to encourage and inspire others to Function with Gumption and Unction.  I ask that you consider, briefly, some of Paul’s encouragements and the basis for his encouragement.

  • OUR MINISTRY IS A GLORIOUS MINISTRY – – [2 Corinthians 4:1-6]

The literal rendering of Paul’s declaration is, “Therefore, seeing we have THIS KIND of ministry.”  [Emphasis mine].  What kind of ministry?  This was described in detail in the previous chapter:  “A glorious ministry that brings men life, salvation, and righteousness; a ministry that is able to transform men’s lives.”  WOW!  Who would not desire that kind of ministry and result?  Paul makes it clear that this kind of ministry is a “gift of God” and is received because of God’s Mercy and Grace not because of something we are or do. 

Let me suggest that how you view your ministry will help to determine how you will fulfill it.  If you look at your service to the LORD as a burden rather than a privilege you will be a drudge and do only that which is required or deemed necessary.  If you consider it a tremendous privilege, you will develop a very positive attitude and that will result in some powerful consequences in your life, walk, and work.  Do we see what God sees in the assignment given to us?

Consider Paul’s approach to the ministry assigned him.  He declared in verse 1 that it kept him from quitting.  He acknowledges trials and that some of them almost brought him to despair verse 8.  Even with the incredible gifts and experience he was still human and faced trials.   One of the keys that kept him going was his confidence that “faithful is He who calls you, Who also will do it.”  He walked in confidence that God’s Call also included God’s Provision and Grace. 

The divine call always includes divine enablement.  God WILL NEVER desert us!  In Vv. 2-4 Paul reveals this kept him from deception, saying, “But we have renounced the hidden things because of shame, not walking in the craftiness of adulterating the Word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 

Have you ever wondered why false teachers were so successful in attacking Paul and other disciples or apostles?  The simple but incomplete answer is, the mind of the sinner is blinded by the devil.  Fallen man finds it easier to believe a lie than the truth.  Consider Vv. 3-4 to verify that reality.  Satan uses, among other things, religious teachers to deceive people.  The deceived deceiving the gullible, and it still happens today. 

This ministry kept Paul from self-promotion as seen in Vv. 5-6 – “We preach not ourselves.”  If a ministry is focused on “look at me” that ministry is one to be wary of.  Paul practiced and we need to strive for genuine humility.  He did not trust himself – (1:9).  He did not commend himself – (3:1-5).  He did not preach himself – (4:5). He sought to lead people to Jesus and build them up in their faith not amass a personal following. 

I pray that the Lord with help each one to realize that our assignment is a Glorious Ministry because it is His Ministry!  I will pause here and pick up next time considering the Gumption to Function with Unction. 

May the Lord richly bless you is my prayer and desire!