We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)
Read: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
Consider: In today’s reading the Apostle Paul tells the believers in Corinth that as Christians they are involved in a spiritual battle and to do this they have access to spiritual weapons. This accords with what he says in his letter the Ephesians: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ruers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Returning to 2 Corinthians, Paul says: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). When, in Ephesians 6, Paul tells believers to put on the whole armour of God, we learn what these spiritual weapons are. This is how The Message puts it: Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare (Ephesians 6:13-18a MSG).
Notice that in 2 Corinthians 10 Paul says: We demolish arguments and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (10:5). We always need to remember that God expects us to use our brains when we share the good news of the gospel with others. Open and honest debate and discussion should be the hallmark of our interaction with unbelievers. As Peter says in his first letter: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). This can only be done when we know what we believe and have thought through the issues by reference to the Bible.
Later in 2 Corinthians 10, Paul warns the Corinthians against those who falsely measure their knowledge and capabilities against themselves. This led to them having an over-inflated view of themselves and their importance, but worse still, they were willing to put others down. Paul is aware of his own limitations and weaknesses, but he is also very aware of his calling and the confidence this gives him. Paul’s calling is mentioned in Acts 13:2 where the church in Antioch sets apart Paul and Barnabas. Paul, himself, speaks of his calling in this way: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel (Romans 1:1). This calling and being set apart for a specific task, is used by Paul to introduce himself in the majority of his letters to the churches. As Christians we need to be careful that we do not have an over-inflated view of our knowledge, abilities or importance. It is right to keep in mind what we do know, but also to remember that there are many things we do not know.
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends (2 Corinthians 10:18).
Pray: Father, may we regard ourselves with humility, seeking always to put forward Jesus as the central truth of the gospel message, in ways that bring honour and glory to your name. Keep us from seeking men’s praise, but only to have confidence in your calling and commendation. Amen
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