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. (verses 2-3)
For the sake of the Gospel, Paul feels the need to defend his integrity and credentials as an apostle in face of attacks launched against him by some who have attached themselves to the community of the Corinthian church. They, unlike Paul, have arrived with supposed letters of commendation. Paul insists he has no need for such documents, for the Corinthians themselves are his letter, their very lives and faith bearing testimony to the effectiveness of his ministry. Indeed, his ongoing connection with the Corinthians has impressed a deep love for them on Paul’s own heart, that message being clear to all around.
But Paul, having begun his defence, can’t stay there. He moves quickly to highlight the true author of the letter. It’s Jesus himself.
O Corinthians, rejoice in this fact. Your lives bear the very testimony and style and signature of the Saviour. He chooses to communicate through you. The very core of your being is imprinted with the tracings of the Spirit, his heart being made known in your heart. What honour. What privilege. What wonder.
I step back from this and realize that what was true for the Corinthians is true for all believers, at all times, in all places. It is true of me. The risen Lord Jesus is choosing to make himself known in me and through me. I am his letter. The ink that is drying there, added line by line, is the Spirit of God himself. My inner being is the parchment where his presence is made known, his script traced out, his style imprinted.
Lord, I receive your handiwork. I make myself available for your composition.
I confess that so often I have lived fully unaware of the Lord’s intention to further his composition in my own life. How much of the divine writing, I wonder, has been hindered by the blotches and smears of my own waywardness? How often has the distraction of my heart yielded an unstable surface for the Spirit’s lettering? How often, Lord Jesus, have I been an uncooperative tablet for your communication?
Lord, cleanse me again. Wipe the slate clean of all but your own imprint. I offer myself to you afresh for your ongoing transcription. I rejoice that you are making yourself known here. I marvel that you choose to do so. I give you thanks and praise. Continue your writing.
Reflect: What has the Lord been writing on your life over the last month? In highs and lows, how has he been making himself known in you?