In 2 Corinthians 3:3, Paul states:
And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (ESV).
At first this seems like a very complicated expression. How often do we think of ourselves as being "letters from Christ"? In our words and our deeds, we are always saying something. Is that something unmistakably influenced by Jesus, or by the power of the Spirit in our lives? It seems a tall order if we assume it is always an act of our own will to be Christian. If it were, we could give ourselves lots of credit. But we know that this is not the right understanding. God has provided for our salvation through his Son. God has transformed us through the Spirit. God deserves all glory.
This is one of the things that make being a Christian so different from being anything else. In any other occupation, activity or hobby, first you learn, then you make efforts, then you succeed or fail. Our lives as Christians do indeed resemble these phases but only on a superficial basis. Christ has written a letter on our hearts, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. That's it. We cannot help but be different people. We cannot help but see the world differently from before. We cannot help but live our lives differently from before. We are not just striving for success; we are ourselves proof of success of the Spirit in changing our hearts.
We are justified by faith, not by works.
How then shall we live? Firstly, in gratitude. Secondly, in joy. Thirdly, prepared for anything. As we are salt and light in the world, we know we will encounter challenges of every imaginable kind. We know too that we will be making mistakes as we go along, and it is how we deal with these mistakes that will also tend to prove the success of the Spirit working in our hearts.
We may think that we need iron will, brilliant persuasiveness and limitless energy to be evangelical Christians. What we need even more is prayer-that mysterious commodity that invited the Lord into our hearts in the first place; that sustains us through every difficulty; and that will see us through to the end of these marvelous adventures called our lives. We need to pray boldly, act peacefully and depend completely on the eternal plan of almighty God. Praise the Lord!
In faith and fellowship,