READ: 2 Corinthians 3:7–4:18
THINK: Have you ever tried to talk to someone about your faith in God and relationship with Christ and been frustrated that they didn’t seem to understand or accept certain things? Perhaps you’ve even been angered by how society persistently defies God and His standards. What you may have failed to understand is that until people experience God’s message and Spirit working in their hearts, it’s as if they have a veil over their minds that keeps them from comprehending the truth and seeing their need for God. Only God’s Spirit can remove the veil as people respond to the Spirit’s promptings and open their hearts to Him. That means you need to let God’s Spirit work and show through you, and then trust the Spirit to work in those He wants you to influence for Christ.
RESPOND: What is “the ministry of the Spirit” within the lives of Christ’s followers? (See 3:8 note.) In what way do people who don’t know Christ have a “veil” over their minds, like Moses kept over his face after receiving God’s Law? (See 3:14 note.) How is the “veil” removed when someone turns to Christ? What freedom does God’s Spirit bring? (See 3:17 note.) Does this mean that Jesus’ followers can do as they please? Why or why not? (See 3:17 note.) In what way should Jesus’ followers reflect His glory? (See 3:18 note.) How has the “god of this age” (Satan) “blinded the minds of unbelievers”? (See 4:4 note.) What evidence do you see of this in people’s lives and in society? How should this affect your attitude and actions toward those who don’t know Jesus? How are Christians like jars of clay with treasure inside? (See 4:7 note.) How is God’s power evident through human weakness? (See 4:8 note.) In what way must Christ’s followers relate to His death? (See 4:11-12 note.) How are we outwardly “wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”? (See 4:16 note.) How do your present difficulties and troubles compare to the honor that will ultimately be yours if you know Christ? (See 4:17 note.) Why is it important to focus attention on what is unseen rather than what is seen, and how can you do this? (See 4:18 note.)
PRAY: Thank Jesus for opening your spiritual eyes so you can glimpse His glory and comprehend His plans for you. Ask Jesus to give you active compassion for those who don’t know Him and are still blinded and deceived by Satan.
ACT: Respond with compassion, patience and graciousness to people, situations, news, etc. that reflect how people are blinded by Satan. Pray silently for people you encounter in all situations, that God would open their minds and make himself real to them, using you as He chooses. At some point, take a prayer walk around your campus, workplace or neighborhood, using the “Praying Strategically for Your Campus” guide on pages 2281-2282.