Paul refers to the churches in the province of Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea) and explains to the Corinthians about the severe hardships – both physical persecution and economic challenges – these churches had been experiencing.
Amazingly, out of their personal and corporate hardship, God’s grace exploded in an outpouring of generosity towards the suffering Christ-followers in Jerusalem! Instead of their own hardships causing them to wallow in self-pity, their sufferings produced compassion and concern for others who were experiencing similar trouble! (see GraceNotes 07-01-15 “The Same Comfort”).
In good times, our personality shows through. Hard times display our character!
Testing, pressure, and hard situations will inevitably display my true colors. I purpose to live from character and not merely from personality, so that when pressure exposes my true colors, they will be Jesus’ colors.
Father, Please help my friends and me to live from the heart, and not from personality, self interest, and emotions. I know testing times come to us all, and when the pressure exposes our true colors, may they be the colors of love, maturity, and wisdom. Amen.
Reading: 2 Corinthians; Psalm 22
1 Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. 2 I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!— (2 Corinthians 8:2–3 MSG)
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