Scripture Union Encounter With God 30th July 2020 Devotional – Crocodile Tears?
TODAY’S TOPIC: CROCODILE TEARS?
Opening Prayer: Lord, teach me how to be teachable.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 7:2–16
Paul’s Joy Over the Church’s Repentance
2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
Scripture Union Encounter With God 30th July 2020 Devotional
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.
In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14 I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. 15 And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
New International Version (NIV)
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Meditate: Scripture Union Encounter With God 30th July 2020
Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Thank God that Jesus has forgiven you and called you to follow him.
Think Further: After writing 1 Corinthians, Paul makes his “painful” visit to the church, followed up later with a letter (see reflection for Tuesday, July 21). How would the errant Corinthians react to the apostle’s godly challenge and justifiable rebuke? Here he expresses his delight at the news from Titus. The Corinthians are far from perfect, but on this occasion they have responded favorably (4).
How do we react when we are challenged? Perhaps God has spoken to us through a Bible reading, small group, or sermon. Alternatively, an accountability partner or Christian friend might have confronted us about a particular issue. We can respond in a number of ways. Of course, we can resent or simply ignore what is said. We can refuse to reflect upon it, let alone act.
We can also respond with what is here called “worldly sorrow” (10). We may even shed a few tears of regret and remorse. This looks more positive, but there is still no real repentance, for the deep work God wants to do in us has not begun. He wants to give us a holy hatred of sin and a burning love for him. Yet we are resistant, whatever impression we give to others.
Godly sorrow is quite different from the shallow, worldly variety. It leads us to true repentance: a real turnaround in our attitudes and actions. We will never be perfect in this life—all Christians depend on God for his forgiveness day by day—but true repentance leads not only to free and full forgiveness but also to reformation and transformation in an earnest commitment to move forward with God (11). So, worldly sorrow or godly repentance? One way leads to death, the other to life (10). Which will we choose?
Apply: How is God challenging you? Let him shine a light into the dark corners of your life and highlight what is wrong. Repent, and ask for power to change.
Closing Prayer: Lord, grant us true repentance when we realize that we have messed up and seek forgiveness again.
ONE YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN: Job 24–26 / Luke 20
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