READ: 2 Corinthians 13:1-14
THINK: How teachable are you? Do you respond humbly to correction? Can you take a tough challenge or firm rebuke and come out better for it? If you want to develop godly character and “aim for perfection” (v. 11) in your relationship with Christ, you’re going to have to accept discipline, learn hard lessons and keep yourself accountable–to God first, but also to other trusted friends and leaders who will challenge and inspire you to new heights of faithfulness and greater depths of devotion to God.
RESPOND: In what way would Paul show tough love the next time he visited the Corinthian church? (See 13:2 note.) Why is such firm leadership important for a church? Why and in what way must those who claim to be Christians examine themselves regarding their faith? (See 13:5 note.) How can tough challenges from leaders like Paul actually build the church up rather than tear it down (v. 10)? In what ways should Christ’s followers “aim for perfection” (v. 11)? What does it mean for people in the church to “be of one mind” (v. 11)? What is significant about the way Paul refers to God at the close of this letter? (See 14:13 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to search your heart and expose anything that isn’t pleasing to Him and that could adversely affect your relationship with Him. Ask Him to help you do your part and fill the role He intends for you in your local church.
ACT: Examine the current status of your faith and relationship with Jesus. Are you growing, or falling back? Is your character becoming more Christlike? Are you more of a giver than a taker in your ministry involvement? For encouragement, read the article on Assurance of Salvation, on p. 1889. If you don’t have someone to whom you’ve made yourself accountable, find a trusted Christian friend or leader who will meet with and check up on you regularly.