~ Guest Post By Cecil May, III ~
Because of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:15
How would you like it if every visit you made with someone was considered to be an “experience of grace” on their part? We can learn from Paul how to accomplish that.
Paul’s plan for his trip was to stop in Corinth on his way out on his journey, and then to stop in Corinth again as he retraced his steps back to his home-base. This way, he could give Christians in Corinth two helpings of grace.
We behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. ~2 Corinthians 1:12
Our visits with others will be experiences of grace if we do not try to hide or artificially enhance our true selves. Paul was always the same person, no matter who he was with. This is being “simple.” Also, he had no agenda in his relationships other than to be a true friend. His feelings for others grew out of what he knew God felt for him. This is “godly sincerity.” In the world, people often let society dictate to them their friends and their behavior in front of those friends. In contrast, it is an experience of grace when someone is simple and sincere.
For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand-just as you did partially understand us-that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you. ~2 Corinthians 1:13-14
Our conversations with others will be experiences of grace if we are willing to go deep. Another conversation about the weather or sports will not accomplish an experience of grace. We must be willing to talk about spiritual matters. Jesus and him crucified must be a part of the conversation. It is eternal things that are important, so we must talk about those things. Go deep, and your conversation will be an experience of grace.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. ~ 2 Cor. 1:20
The time we spend with others will be counted as an experience of grace if we focus on the positive. Christians are people who hold hope in our hearts. That hope is so noticeable in our language and body language that others are attracted to it and ask about it (1 Peter 3:15). When we are full of “Yes” and “Amen” our time with others will be experiences of grace.
Not that we Lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:24
Our relationships with others will be counted as an experience of grace for them when they perceive that we want to be “with” them, not “over” them. Paul was an apostle with all the authority of heaven behind him. Yet, he liked to speak of others as his “partners in the gospel.” He preferred to appeal to Philemon in love and friendship, rather than to play the authoritative apostle card when Paul hoped for action from Philemon (Philemon 8-9). People feel bossed and manipulated enough. They will appreciate the experience of grace when they are treated as valuable partners.