Wednesday, May 6, 2009


II Corinthians 3:17-4:2

When I was in high school, we had a donkey named Chiquita. Us boys regularly took her with us on hikes through the canyons and mountains around Navajo, New Mexico. Not too long after we got her, we took her up a rather hard place to climb. She baulked and we couldn’t make her go no matter what we did. Finally, we decided to drag a dead tree across the canyon so she couldn’t run away and leave her there while we went on up. We’d get her on our way back.

Taking the lead rope off, we went on up the trail. We’d gone quite a ways when we realized Chiquita was right behind us. Though the area we were in at the moment was flat and had a lot of grass, she made no effort to get off the trail, so we left her loose. At the next hard spot, she watched to see where we were going. Then she went a different way that was a lot easier then the way we’d gone. At another spot, she waited until we were out of the way, then came up in a series of lunges that would have been hard to avoid for us. The lead rope wouldn’t have given her room enough.

Going back she did the same things, choosing a much better way at the place she’d baulked before. We realized that what looked best to us might not be best for her, and when we gave her freedom, she always got where we were going. We just had to show her where we wanted to go. After learning that, we found that there was almost no place we couldn’t take her. She could, and would go anywhere a dog could go, and carry our stuff for us.

These same principles are very applicable to leading people into a close walk with the Lord. In I Corinthians 8-11. Paul stressed the idea that a spiritual man would not impose his standards on others, but give them freedom to follow as the Spirit leads them. Those standards may hinder their walk with God. The best way for them to go may not be best for me. The Holy spirit gives liberty. ” Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (II Corinthians 3:17) The absence of liberty implies the Spirit is not in control.

Just as our goal was to get ourselves and the donkey all to the same destination, God’s goal is for us all to come to the same spiritual place, where we are all like Christ. This will be accomplished by getting to know Christ intimately. As we get close to him, and walk with him, the Holy Spirit begins to make us more like him. This is over and beyond the natural tendency to imitate those we associate with. The more clearly we see him, the more like him we’ll be. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

In order for Chiquita to know where we were going, we had to lead the way, to set an example. To lead people to a spiritual walk with the Lord, we also need to set an example. It is impossible to lead people where you don’t go. In order to lead his people where God wants them, Paul has chosen to eliminate certain things from his life because they might prevent people seeing Christ clearly. They might cause others to quit following or become discouraged.

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.” (II Corinthians 4:1-2)

By clearly demonstrating the power of God in their own lives, Paul and his companions showed others what God expected, and also demonstrated their own relationship and qualifications to their hearers. This is an example for us.

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