We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also. 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Ministry – including evangelism and discipleship — is people touching people; life on life. It is not just disseminating information. You can do that with a piece of paper or a book or an app. It is faith working itself out through our lives as we learn from the Word and receive encouragement from each other. It is all our lives lived as an open book. This is really all of it; not just our ministry among other believers but our ministry in the world: life on life, each life as an open book.
It’s baring our hearts and souls to each other — our doubts, fears, joys, sorrows, questions, struggles, hurt, and pain. Your heart is the fertile ground in which the Holy Spirit is planted and Jesus is revealed.
Paul put it this way to the Corinthian church: “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)
Paul defines his ministry by the lives of the Corinthians, and then he points out that those lives speak for themselves in that they are an open letter showing the reality of the Spirit of God in their hearts. Not that they were perfect – and we know the Corinthians especially were far from perfect – but their lives had become the stage upon which the ongoing story of transformation was being demonstrated.
It’s you … onstage … every day … going through your life, doing what you do with Christ in you. Doesn’t mean you’re perfect; it means you are a letter, an open book. It means you pick yourself up and keep going, because even though you can’t make sense of it right now, God always does.
We talk a lot about boots on the ground here. This is boots on the ground Christianity — life on life — our lives an open letter to you, your lives an open letter to those you touch. This is you in relationships with believers, unbelievers, atheists, Muslims, what have you. Open wide your hearts. That’s the way this is done. Open wide your hearts as we open wide our hearts to you. Think about who you might touch today.
Many people feel like they can’t be really used of God until they reach a certain level of maturity in their Christian life so they hold back in talking about their faith. Nonsense. You are a qualified messenger of Christ the minute you get saved.
We are in process, but the Spirit is present in us nonetheless, and our lives tell the story.