Links Daily Devotional

Balanced Faith

But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. (2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV)

Some sports require one skill. Marathoning fits this description. The mental and physical demand is great for marathoners—no question there. But throughout, the idea is put your feet and put them down again, over and over.

In golf, we look for a variety of skills among the world’s best players. Not only do they drive it farther than most anyone in your club, they control the shape and trajectory to fairways not much wider than your street. They must do the same with their irons and wedges, getting the ball to stop in the most reasonable spot on the green. And to win, they must get the putts to fall. No wonder today’s best players are also men and women in excellent athletic shape.

In our faith walk, too, we find the need for multiple “skills.” God challenges us to glorify his excellence in a number of endeavors.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians a second time, his letter made strong note of the fact that these people had come a long way. Must of the chastisement of his first letter had been replaced by commendation. By the eighth chapter, he was in full voice as to his appreciation for their God-honoring ways. He found them to excellent in:

Faith. They trusted God to guide and provide, forgive and to fortify. They were truly walking with him.

Speech. The things they said reflected their heart of worship. To believers, they offered words of edification and admonishment, as necessary. To all, they spoke with gentleness and respect.

Knowledge. As Paul had certainly demonstrated in his visit with them, they had become Scripture-searchers, learning the will of God from the word of God.

Earnestness. There were no frills in their faith. This was a church that had gotten to the core issues of life and pursued them with seriousness and integrity.

Love. Always, this is what Paul wanted to see in the churches. It is what he had written about so eloquently in his first letter to these same believers in Corinth.

And then Paul gave them one more area to keep improving in: their gracious generosity.

What a pleasure, really, to know that there are so many places and so many ways to keep growing in Jesus. Just as we keep working on our golf games, strengthening all aspects for a better score, we keep working on our walks of faith, broadening the ways in which we follow our Savior.

Jeff Hopper

September 17, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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