Here is the way I marked the text up in my journal.
The first word is therefore, followed closely by since. Those words are structural markers that, in the case of therefore, indicate the effect of a cause, and in the case of since are giving the support for, or the substantiation of that result. So we have to look back at chapter 3 to understand what is causing this effect.
Paul is contrasting in chapter 3 the ministry of the Spirit with the ministry of the letter of the Law. His point is that the ministry of the Spirit gives life. As a result, therefore we, since we have this ministry, do not lose heart. The reason we do not lose hear is that our ministry to our kids is not about following something like the law, doing all of the right things. No, rather it is instead one of the Spirit working in our lives and the lives of our children.
Note the phrase, “as we have received mercy,” the word “as” can be comparative but in this case it is also the reason for or substantiation for why we do not lose hope. We received Christ, we received the ministry to our kids or those whom God has given us to help as a gift of mercy. It is not something we earn, it is not something have to do on our own, it is a merciful ministry of and through the Spirit.
Then things get really interesting. In the context of the book there are people who are following Paul around and claiming to be better apostles with a better message than his. They elevate themselves and criticize Paul in the process. It is a pseudo- apostolic competition. Paul is having none of it.
But we are pulled this way. This is a really interesting construction. Note the series of nested contrasts, the things hidden vs. in the sight of God, walking in craftiness vs. commending ourselves to everyman’s conscience, and adulterating (interesting word by the way) the Word vs. the manifestation of truth.
When things like the things that Paul is doing with his ministry, things like praying, sharing the Word of God, modeling discipleship, do not seem to be working, or working fast enough with our kids or those whom we are helping, the pressure we feel is to change something. Do something more creative perhaps.
Paul seems to be rejecting that reaction. He is sticking with plainly speaking the truth and living with integrity before all of those with whom he is sharing. No tricks, no gimmicks, no craftiness, no changing the message to fit the circumstances, just sharing the truth.
There is a lot more here. You probably saw more than I did. But that is enough of my observations. What did you see?
The summary for me, is that my responsibility in all of the assignments that God has mercifully given me is to engage with them through the strength of the Spirit, sharing the Word of God faithfully without trying to change the message, and to do so while living a life of integrity in the midst of my children and those whom God has given me to serve.
It is a really high calling but the overwhelming thing is that the Lord supplies the message and the strength to accomplish it.