You show that you are a letter from Christ . . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Cor. 3:3)

PAUL COMPARED THE CORINTHIANS to a letter of recommendation. Have you ever had to request a reference letter from a former boss, pastor, or professor? Chances are you asked for letters of recommendation from people who would say good things about you. There are two main purposes for a letter of recommendation: to prove that you are who you say you are and to garner favor and begin building trust. The Corinthians were asking Paul for a letter of recommendation, and he told them it just wasn’t necessary. In fact, he insisted that the evidence of his authenticity and the impetus for their favor toward him lay in the hearts of the Corinthians themselves!

Plato once said that a good teacher does not write his message in ink that will fade; he writes it upon individuals. This is what Jesus did through Paul. The good news was written on changed hearts and transformed lives in Corinth. Paul was quick to add in verses 4–6 that their transformed lives were not his doing, but the work of the Spirit.

Too often we look for authority in things like titles, degrees, and recognition from others. Our authority does not come from who we know or what people say about us. Our authority comes from the Spirit. And an indicator of the Spirit’s authority in our lives will be the transformation of not only our hearts, but also the hearts of those around us.

Find your authority in the power of the Spirit rather than the opinions of others.

Andrea Summers is an ordained minister and has served on staff in her local church for five years. She is the director of Women’s Ministry for The Wesleyan Church.