Throughout the letter Paul has come along side this church of growing believers. Here he gives them more of a nudge than just counsel, to live singularly focused lives devoted to God.
In that same light, he expresses the joy that he feels in and through them and Titus. Paul has sacrificed his own joy and cravings and seeks furtherment of God’s kingdom. He gathers so much joy from the growth of others that anything for himself pails in comparison.
13. a. 1.in great endurance; 2. in troubles, 3. hardships and 4. distresses; 5. in beatings, 6. imprisonments and 7. riots; in 8. hard work, 9. sleepless nights and 10. hunger;
b. 1. in purity, 2. understanding, 3. patience and 4. kindness; 5. in the Holy Spirit and 6. in sincere love; 7. in truthful speech and 8. in the power of God; 9. with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
c. 1. through glory and dishonor, 2. bad report and good report; 3. genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 4. known, yet regarded as unknown; 5. dying, and yet we live on; 6.beaten, and yet not killed; 7. sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; 8. poor, yet making many rich; 9. having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
d. Yes, but: I am not living a life “out there” as Paul did… little hardship, distress, no beatings, but developing in the spiritual characteristics and teaching others – Be more BOLD! But also follow God’s call for my life.
14. It is living a life subservient to the gospel and the growth of others. Joy is not found in self, well-being, etc., but in the growth and development of others
What a great nudge/warning to the church. One we should strongly heed today. They faced the dilemma that many Christians struggle with today, compartmentalization. There was their God life and their business life. On the church side, they met, grew, communed, worshiped, etc. This was a community of like minded, although socially/economically disperse people. On the other hand was their business. They were in trade unions with non-believers. They ate with them, worked with them and were a part of this community. Paul isn’t telling them to sell all and become beggars, but he is saying (again) that your actions should tell you are being transformed. If you can’t tell who the chistians are, then maybe they just aren’t reflecting that much of God’s life (ouch!)
Joy. Paul has reached the point where his true passion is the growth of others, even to the detriment and destruction of his own body, rights and freedoms. But what an amazing joy it is.