Sometimes we read in the Bible passages like we saw yesterday, passages that say we are to be the aroma of Christ to those around us, or passages that call us to be his priests, and we ask, “How can I possibly do that? I’ve got no special qualifications. I’ve never been to Bible school. I’m no pastor or missionary. I’m just an ordinary Christian.”
But the truth is, none of us are truly “qualified” to make a difference in the lives of people. Sure, you may have university degrees or many years of experience in ministry, but neither of these things nor anything else can give you the power to change a human heart. Only God can. Paul himself recognized this.
After talking about how we are the fragrance of Christ to those around us, he asked,
And who is equal to such a task? (2:16b)
The answer to this rhetorical question is: no one. No one is equal to the task. By our own strength and wisdom, we simply cannot change the human heart. All we can do is what Paul did.
In Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. (2:17b)
That’s all we can do. Fulfill the great commission God has given us. To speak with sincerity. And to speak with integrity knowing that God is watching us. The rest is up to him. And if we will do our part, he will do his.
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (3:4-6)
Paul makes it crystal clear here that we are not competent in ourselves to make a difference in the lives of others. Rather any competence we have comes from God. He is the one that makes us competent to make a difference as we serve him. And because of that, we can have confidence. Not in our own abilities or gifts. But in the God who gave these things to us, and who can use them to bring change to the hardest of hearts.
So let us remember that. We cannot change people. But God can. And if we will just be faithful to the things God has called us to do, we can make a difference.