In Corinth, rebuffed and frustrated by resistance to his teaching, Paul was encouraged by his Lord in a night vision, “Do not be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to Me.” (18:9) So Paul stayed there 1 ½ years, encouraging and teaching them. It is comforting to me that, as bold as he was, Paul also had fears and required reassurance. His frustration shows his human frailty. I can identify with that.
I’ve read that courage is not the absence of fear but the character quality which allows us to do the right thing despite our fear. It also helped for God to remind him that he was not alone; not all depended on him. For God had been working in the hearts of these Corinthians before Paul ever arrived, and many already believed. Others were ready to be harvested. We are not alone in ministry; we are partners with the God of the universe, who goes before us!
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
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Lord, give me confidence and courage to carry out the mission You assigned to me. Remind me that I represent You to people in my circles of influence, not in my own inadequate capacity, but in Your strength. You have gone before me to prepare hearts receptive to Your truth. I will not recognize who these people are unless I initiate spiritual conversation with them. I will leave the results to You.