You yourselves are a letter from Christ, written by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not written on tablets of stone but in the hearts of men. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
As I write this blog, we as a team at Royal Mission’s Full-Time Bible School are on the threshold of a new season. This means that a group of new students is ready for the year of their lives. They have no idea what to expect, but for us too, every year is new. One thing is certain; people’s lives will be changed.
Paul uses a special comparison to show how people’s lives are changed. He compares it to writing a letter. In this comparison, the church in Corinth is the letter, Paul and his colleagues are the writers of this letter and instead of using ink, it is the Holy Spirit who makes the story visible. With this comparison, Paul makes it clear who has what responsibility for the spiritual growth of people.
A letter is meant to be read. Over the years we have read many letters at the Royal Mission Full-time School, but also at all other schools and courses. We often receive testimonials via email, but the real ‘letter’ is of course the person who has undergone a change.
For example, I received an email today from a student from last year. She writes that during the year at the Full-time Bible School she grew in her faith and gained a solid foundation. Now she has decided to go to a school in America to train in missionary work. From there she will work with children from broken families, who as a result are in a children’s home. She will also work with various organizations to help street children.
Over six years ago we had a very broken girl come to school. Very special things happened to her during that year, which healed her heart and completely changed the course of her life. At important milestones in her life, I always get a message from her, including a few weeks ago:
“After a year of hard work and hard work, I managed to successfully complete my university master’s degree in clinical psychology in Leiden. In short, I passed! At moments like this I always look back on my life and I soon end up with you again. Thank you for all the good care and wise lessons during that special Royal Mission year! It was the year in which God formed the plan in me to walk this route. To be able to put all the misery of the past to positive use and now six years later, this plan has really become reality.”
Reading such ‘letters of life’ is a direct praise and worship to God. It testifies to God’s power and shows that God is able to restore, heal and provide direction.
In the days before email and WhatsApp, you would receive paper letters by post. That still happens sometimes, but not as often as it did then. A handwritten letter is not only interesting in terms of content, but the fact that someone has made an effort to ensure that their handwriting is pleasant to read makes such a letter very personal and special to receive. Paul also finds it important to sometimes emphasize that he wrote something with his own hand.
I, Paul, greet you in my own handwriting. That is the hallmark in every letter that I wrote it myself. (2 Thessalonians 3:17)
If, according to Paul’s metaphor, we at Royal Mission are responsible for writing letters in our ministry, then it is first of all very important to recognize with the same Paul that we owe our ability to write to God (2 Corinthians 3:5). At the same time, it is interesting to consider what Royal Mission’s handwriting looks like. If people are growing and changing through our ministry, what is the hallmark of that? In any case, our goal is to help people to live royally and follow Jesus as a disciple. Restoration, healing and direction that takes place within our ministry should always lead to someone becoming (more) committed to Jesus. We really want that to be our signature.
In the Bible the Holy Spirit is compared to oil, water, wind and fire. Those are pretty well-known metaphors. It is less known that the Holy Spirit is also compared to the function of ink in the Bible. Ink is indispensable when writing a letter, but what is striking about the metaphor of writing a letter is how the letter and the writer relate to the ink.
In our ministry within Royal Mission, as with every ministry within the Kingdom of God, we are completely dependent on the working of the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is therefore also to listen to God’s Word and to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why we, as a team, regularly take time for worship and prayer and subordinate ourselves to the working and guidance of the Spirit.
Do you want to be a letter?
Now in this blog I would like to address you directly as a reader. The fact is that Paul’s metaphor also places responsibility on ‘the letter’. It is made clear to the church in Corinth that Paul and his colleagues were allowed to write in their lives and they experienced for themselves what the result was. I have been under the ear of many good teachers in my life and have been questioned by some wise mentors. They have written Divine stories in my life, through which I have changed and grown.
The question for you at the beginning of the season is: Will you allow a story to be written in your life with the Holy Spirit as ink and may we be writers of stories of the Kingdom in your life this season? Perhaps you, as a young person, would choose to join Royal Mission’s Full-time Bible School at the last minute? For you as an adult, there is the opportunity to choose it this seasonGrowth year from Royal Mission or aGrowth course or theSchool for (young) leaders or theChildren’s work training . You can see offering these courses as our assistance to help you grow spiritually. We would consider it a great honor if we could take responsibility for writing Royal stories together.