2 Corinthians 10:1-11
10 Christ is gentle and free of pride. So I make my appeal to you. I, Paul, am the one you call shy when I am face to face with you. But when I am away from you, you call me bold. 2 I beg you that when I come I won’t have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people. They think that I live the way the people of this world live. 3 I do live in the world. But I don’t fight my battles the way the people of the world do. 4 The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it is just the opposite. My weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy. 5 I destroy every claim and every reason that keeps people from knowing God. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ. 6 Until you have obeyed completely, I will be ready to punish you every time you don’t obey. 7 You are looking only at what appears on the surface of things. Suppose you are sure you belong to Christ. Then you should consider again that I belong to Christ just as much as you do. 8 Do I brag too much about the authority the Lord gave me? If I do, it’s because I want to build you up, not pull you down. And I’m not ashamed of that kind of bragging. 9 Don’t think that I’m trying to scare you with my letters. 10 Some say, “His letters sound important. They are powerful. But in person he doesn’t seem like much. And what he says doesn’t amount to anything.” 11 People like that have a lot to learn. What I say in my letters when I’m away from you, I will do in my actions when I’m with you.
These are not the words of a domineering, manipulating leader. No, they are the words of an apostle speaking with the same spirit of ‘meekness and gentleness’ that Jesus Christ demonstrated. So, Paul answers his critics, pointing out that if he used worldly standards in his relationship with the Corinthians, he would be contradicting the authority received from Christ Jesus. i.e. to build them up not to tear them down.
As Paul says, he might live in the world but, as he wars against the forces of evil, his weapons are definitely not the same as those of the world, because they have ‘divine power’ to defeat any and every enemy strategy.
His critics say he writes strong letters but that he is timid when he is with them. In his first letter Paul has already acknowledged that fact. He said that his preaching was not with wise persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit’s power [1Cor.2:4,5]
By the world’s standards Paul is seen as insignificant by his critics. But for those who are spiritually alert, he is the apostle of Christ with authority to lead them, regardless of the circumstances.
I need to recognise the authority which Christ has delegated to His appointed leaders, appointed not by worldly standards, but by the calling of the Holy Spirit. Also I must let all my relationships be characterised by love; to make sure I have all the facts before making rash statements about other people. I need to be equipped to use the spiritual weapons Paul talks about on a daily basis.
Lord, I thank you for Paul’s words, and ask the Holy Spirit to show me how I should be using this ‘divine power’ every day.
Written by Keith Bennett