It is always a fine thing [of course] to be zealously sought after [as you are, provided that it is] for a good purpose and done by reason of purity of heart and life, and not just when I am present with you!
It is good ·for people to show interest in you [or to be passionate/enthusiastic; L to be zealous/the object of zeal], but only if their ·purpose [intention] is good. This is always true, not just when I am with you.
Oh, I know how keen these men are to win you over, but can’t you see that it is for their own ends? They would like to see you and me separated altogether, and have you all to themselves. Don’t think I’m jealous—it is a grand thing that men should be keen to win you, whether I’m there or not, provided it is for the truth. Oh, my dear children, I feel the pangs of childbirth all over again till Christ be formed within you, and how I long to be with you now! Perhaps I could then alter my tone to suit your mood. As it is, I honestly don’t know how to deal with you.
It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration.
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