I’m not sure if people growing up in my neighborhood were just skeptical, but a popular phrase you would hear often was simply, “prove it!”
- I can run down this hill faster than anyone else… prove it!
- I’m a better hockey player than you… prove it!
- I can cross this down tree over the crick with my eyes closed… prove it…?
Even though I grew up on the south side of Philadelphia we had a small wooded area at the end of my street we called, “the woods.” My friends and I loved going to the woods! Even though it wasn’t large, and it sat right next to the Northeast Corridor (The main railroad track system that ran from N.Y. to Washington D.C.), it was our little slice of eden.
One of the coolest aspects of the woods was the large oak tree you had to cross to get over the “crick.” You read that correctly, the crick. Okay… okay… the creeeek. Not very large, and really just a water runoff during heavy rains, the oak tree stretched all the way from one side of the creek to the other. There was only one problem, if you fell off the tree you would drop at least 15′ to the shallow creek below.
On a hot day in the middle of summer I said to my friends, I can cross the tree over the creek with my eyes closed, to which my friends of course responded with… “prove it!”
Paul Had To Prove It
Because Paul was up against a group of supposed “Super Apostles,” he had to spend a lot of his letter proving the difference between the two. When you read Chapter 6, you’ll notice not only Paul defending his actions, and the actions of his associates, but he also brings to light the differences between himself and this other group. One of the key differences is the way Paul proved himself and his ministry.
2 Corinthians 6:5-7 (NLT) 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.
Paul said, we proved ourselves by our…
- Holy Spirit Within Us
- Sincere Love
I always pay attention when Paul creates a list, and for good reason. Paul’s lists give us incredible insight into how we too should live. Don’t ever think that Paul’s lists are unattainable because, well… it’s Paul, but rather, Paul himself indicated that he’s nothing special; just a guy who lives to honor God with his whole life.
If you were to walk into work, school, a family function, or even just being out and about declaring you’re a Christian, how would “prove it?” Would you be able to say, well… I’m pure, understanding, patient, kind, the Holy Spirit is in me, and I show sincere love. Don’t be discouraged if this isn’t true, just begin to live in a way that proves that is.
As a Pastor
Speaking as a pastor today, I’m challenged by Paul’s words in verse 3 and 4: 3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
People tend to think that Pastor’s are off-the-hook because we’re pastors, but that’s not true at all! In fact, James 3:1 says the exact opposite when James declares that teachers/preachers will be “judged more harshly.” I desire as a pastor to live in such a way that these verses are reality for me. That’s my challenge today.
The End of the Story
You’re probably wondering what happened with the crossing of the tree over the creek with my eyes closed. Well, I certainly proved something that day… I proved I couldn’t do it.