II Corinthians 6:3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
I read through these verses and was struck by how many word comparisons Paul uses just after he writes about weapons so I made a list – but in columns: a left-hand one and a right-hand one. Apparently comparisons are catching and maybe that’s exactly what Paul had in mind. It certainly has made me think.
The left column is clearly filled with recognizable defensive weapons of righteousness. What if all those words in that right-hand column might also be weapons of rightousness? The Holy Spirit revealed our desire for those commendable words in the left-hand column to be a reality our lives at the same time our eyes recognized the words of the right-hand column were a part of that same reality. Doesn’t that make those dismal words pretty effective weapons of righteousness too?
Good Report. Bad Report
We Live On Dying
Not Yet Killed. Beaten
One column wasn’t enough to bring us into the faith of Jesus Christ on that day we came to our senses and returned to His victory and I’m guessing a majority of us would admit our lives still need both columns today. We couldn’t have understood glory if we hadn’t recognized dishonor or desired a good report if we hadn’t been aware of our bad report “then”. You can continue on down the list for yourself and just make the change to present tense: we can’t understand glory if we don’t recognize our dishonor, or desire a good report if we can’t confess a bad report.
The words in both those columns have turned out to be very effective weapons ”of endurance, in purity, understanding, patience and kindness “then” and “the power of God [to arm us now] with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left…”