There’s a saying: “Keep the main thing the main thing.” It reflects focus. Whatever you do in life, if you want to be effective, you must be focused. Most people get this. It is a nonnegotiable reality. Yet, when people get in groups, this reality can fade. Sadly, you see it in many churches.

Second Corinthians 2:12-17 is a brilliant and powerful directive for every Christian, every church. It’s about the “main things.” Paul begins on the subject of receptivity. He says that he traveled to Troas. He reports, “I found the place wide open.”

There is a subtle, often unconscious lie many Christians come to believe: “Most people aren’t interested to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ.” Believing that lie, Christians—and their churches—abandon the priority—the main thing—of outreach.

The truth is, people are much more receptive than you might think. When people have a challenge, they are receptive. When they experience change, they are receptive. Everyone experiences moments of receptivity. Do you recognize them?

A second point Paul writes about is that “through us”—through every Christian—God “brings the knowledge of Christ.” Not through “church.” Not through “pastors.” But through all believers. Everyone is a minister, as Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-12.

Then Paul teaches about rejection. When you share your faith, sooner or later, you will come across someone who is just not interested. This fear of rejection is what stops many Christians from ever sharing their faith. Paul says it just goes with the territory. Don’t take it personally. Paul says it’s never personal. It’s not about you. Those who reject you are rejecting God. They are people already on the road to destruction. So, what do you do? Like Jesus says (Matthew 10:14), if people won’t listen to your God stories, your witness, “shake the dust off your feet” and move on. Rejection? Shake it off!

Then Paul warns about something that is prevalent for many Christians, many churches. This is what happens. Most of what the Bible says does not fit secular thinking. That should be no surprise. So, what do many Christians do? Water it down and/or ignore it. However, Paul is direct: “…don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and take it to the streets to sell cheap.” Anyone, any church, that does so, loses the power to change anyone for eternity.

Paul ends this chapter, 2 Corinthians 2, by giving us strength to be bold witnesses to others. He says, “We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.” So, what is the greatest challenge for every believer, every church? Get out of God’s way! Let go, and let God. And He will use you to change the world, one person at a time.

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