Living An "Even If" Life

Living an Even If Life

In my last post, I wrote about the "even if" faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, which led them to stand before King Nebuchadnezzar and declare that no matter what, even if God did not save them, they would continue to trust and follow Him.

Now, I want to take a look at what it means for us to live our lives with that same attitude of confidence and trust in God, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

We already have been reminded that our God is the almighty, supreme Creator of the universe and Savior of the world. We know from our study of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that we can trust Him, even when we are in the midst of horrible situations.

But what does that look like? How do we live boldly, with this kind of faith, in our specific circumstances?

Paul, An Example

To understand what it looks like to live a life of bold faith, let's move forward in biblical time to the period shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The early church has begun and with it, persecution and plenty of other challenges facing believers.

Enter Paul. Once called Saul, an infamous persecutor of Christians and, as a Pharisee, one of the elite Jewish leaders. You can find the story of his dramatic encounter with Jesus in Acts 9:1-31.

Acts, as well as Paul's letters to the churches, show that his life was not an easy one. He endured severe persecution, beatings, shipwrecks, poverty, imprisonment and many other difficulties.

And despite all of the hardships he faced, Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13 that he had "learned the secret" of being content no matter the circumstance he found himself in - Christ gave him the strength to do so.

But, what was it that drove him to continually stand up boldly without succumbing to fear or discouragement?

Let's take a look at his second letter to the Corinthians. For the sake of this post, I am not going to go into a lot of detail concerning the letter, but I do encourage you to read through the letter in its entirety to get a bigger picture of what was going on.

For now, let's start with 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 and move into the following one or two chapters. In the first part of the letter, Paul shares about some of the difficulties he and his partners in the ministry had been facing. He also writes about the old covenant between God and Israel and compares it with the even better new covenant ushered in by Christ.

In chapter 3, he tells the Corinthians that they are his ministry's letter of recommendation, and that it is not because of anything he or they have done, rather it is due to the work of God. And it is in that work of God through Christ that they can have confidence in their ministry. In verse 12, he says that it is the hope they have in Christ which prompts them to be bold.

Moving into chapter 4, he says that it is because of God's grace in giving them this ministry that they do not "lose heart." Instead, they boldly and plainly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in order to share the light of Christ with a world that has been darkened.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

Moving further on in the chapter, Paul states that he and his fellow ministers "have this treasure in jars of clay," referring to the reality that they were but simple vessels carrying the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. He makes clear that though they are unworthy and insignificant, God had determined that it be so in order that His power might be clearly displayed. This was so that those looking in would see that this power was not from Paul and his companions, but from God Himself.

Paul then goes on to say that they have been "hard pressed on every side," but that no matter what they have faced - persecution, beatings, and all sorts of hardship, they have not been destroyed or abandoned. How could they believe that? Because they saw the life-giving power of Jesus at work in their lives and the lives of those they were ministering to.

And even beyond the present reality of Christ working through all their difficulties, Paul and his companions in the Gospel also realized the truth that these present circumstances were temporary in light of the glory of eternity with God. They knew that their ultimate hope could be found in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of eternity with Him.

Ambassadors for the Kingdom

After sharing of the incredible hope of eternal life in Christ, Paul explains that one of the motivating factors behind their willingness to boldly proclaim the Gospel without compromise was that they saw it as their responsibility as followers of Jesus to live in a way that would please God. He says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that all of us will eventually stand before God and give an account of whatever we did with our lives, whether we honored Him or not.

Their desire, then, was to persuade others of this reality - that they must come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ because one day they, too, would stand before God.

With this turn from articulating the power of the Gospel and the hope of eternity with God, Paul begins to explain the role he believed he and his fellow ministers were called to do.

For describing this role, Paul uses a term that would have been familiar to his audience, and one which we today can understand. He refers to Christians as "Christ's ambassadors" to the world. An ambassador, as we know today, is a diplomat from a country who functions as a representative of his or her nation. 

Now, to better understand what Paul means by this, I want to have us take a look at what the duties of an ambassador would include. In Paul's day, as well as ours, ambassadors were given the task of helping to smooth over the relations between their country and their host country, but with the aim of benefitting their own country by protecting their interests. They also serve as representatives who share their country's perspective or position on specific issues. They often relay messages from their country's leaders to the leaders of their host country.

So what does this mean for us as ambassadors for Christ's kingdom? Well, Paul tells us that just as an ambassador for a country is given the task of appealing to their host country on behalf of their own country, so we as God's ambassadors have been given a message to share with the world. It is thus, our duty to undertake this task of pleading with the people in this world to "be reconciled to God." 

In this way, as Paul shares, we as ambassadors are "ministers of reconciliation," telling a lost world about the hope we have through Jesus Christ, and urging them to follow Christ and be made right with God.

Hope for a Dying World

My friends, the sobering reality we must face is that this world is dying. We all know this. There are over 7 billion people on the planet and the vast majority do not know Jesus. And most of the members of that majority will never come to know Him. They will spend all of eternity separated from Him.

This should bring us to our knees in tears.

This post is about what it means to live a daring "even if" life of faith. And I am here to remind you that the two things that should compel us to live with bold faith are: 1) Christ paid the ultimate price for our reconciliation and has made us His ambassadors, and 2) this world desperately needs to know the hope of Jesus Christ because it is dying in utter hopelessness without Him.

And friends, we have this treasure.  We have this hope.

Paul said that the love of Christ compelled him to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever he went, and to whomever he encountered - whether it was a person attending a local synagogue or one of the most powerful leaders in Roman government. And this he did even in the face of persecution and the threat of death.

We too, need to be reminded of the great love of God, and allow the hope of reconciliation with Him through Christ to compel us to step out of our places of comfort in order to speak the life-giving Truth of the hope we have for eternity with God, forever reconciled to Him.

And we can do this because God, no matter what circumstance we face, will never abandon us, or allow us to be destroyed. Romans 8:37 says that we are "more than conquerors" through Christ. We have no need to be fearful of what we may encounter - whether ridicule or even death - because these things are but a vapor in the wind. They are simply light and momentary troubles in the face of eternity. 

What Does All of This Mean for Us?

Friends, I am not saying that we all have to pack our bags and travel the world preaching the Gospel like Paul and the other early missionaries did. I am saying that every aspect of our lives should function under the compulsion that comes with knowing the hope of Christ.

Whether we verbally preach the Gospel in rural Asia or simply live out our lives in a way that reflects the love of Christ no matter where we happen to be, it all should be rooted in the reality that we have this amazing treasure which has been given to us to share with others.

Because the hope of Christ compels us, we stand firm in the midst of great tragedy, knowing He will carry us through. Because the love of Christ compels us, we step out of our place of security and tell our neighbor about Jesus. Because the hope and love of Christ compels us, we seek to honor Him in every aspect of our lives so that the people around us will see His great light and desire to know Him as a result.

This is our mission, and our calling as believers, whether we serve Him in our native countries or in a place foreign to us.


1. What has encouraged you about the example of Paul? What challenges you?

2. How are you endeavoring to live out the call to be an ambassador of Christ where you are?

3. In what ways do you believe God is calling you to serve Him in your context?

You are welcome to share your thoughts in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

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