A Facebook friend of mine, Jenn McClin posted this the other day, and I asked if I could share it here. It stretches what needs stretching in the Church right now.
Pretty interesting to read Paul defending his own ministry from other believers who probably spent a lot of energy critiquing his every move, method, weakness, fault. I wonder what he felt when he wrote this to his brothers and sisters at Corinth. (2 Corinthians 10)
I also feel convicted at how often I do this toward my fellow brothers and sisters without even batting an eye, overly zealous to find fault or cracks in one’s theology and therefore dismiss their entire ministry. Seems like a pretty faulty way of measuring, especially since God decided to utilize human beings as vessels of His Hope and Glory haha!
As someone in ministry, it’s a fine line to know when to address the whispers that go on about you, or how to hand them over to the one who Defends and Upholds my cause, and who knows intimately the condition of my heart toward Him and toward His beloved creation. Paul thought it was appropriate to address this issue with the Corinthians and impart a little truth. Thankfully, He knows where and from Whom his commendation comes from, and it’s in this thought that we (ministers of God’s Word and commission) take refuge! Don’t listen to everything so closely that the enemy can use it to destroy you! God is good.
Paul’s Defense of His Ministry – 2 Corinthians 10
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you–I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
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. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. – 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 NIV
Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise–why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool–why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.
Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city. Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you– for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.
All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”–but this was beyond me. Whatever exists is far off and most profound–who can discover it? – Ecclesiastes 7:16-24 NIV