If it seems like the world is pushing you around, know that you have the power to push back.
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2 Corinthians 10 (ESV)
1 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—
am humble when face to face with you,
but bold toward you when I am away!—
2 I beg of you that when I am present
I may not have to show boldness with such confidence
as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.
3 For though we walk in the flesh,
we are not waging war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare
are not of the flesh
but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy
arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
6 being ready
to punish every disobedience,
when your obedience is complete.
7 Look at what is before your eyes.
If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s,
let him remind himself that
just as he is Christ’s,
so also are we.
8 For even if I boast a little too much of our authority,
which the Lord gave
building you up
and not for destroying you,
I will not be ashamed.
9 I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters.
10 For they say,
“His letters are weighty and strong,
but his bodily presence is weak,
and his speech of no account.”
11 Let such a person understand that
what we say by letter when absent,
we do when present.
12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves.
But when they measure themselves by one another
and compare themselves with one another,
they are without understanding.
13 But we will not boast beyond limits,
but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us,
to reach even to you.
14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you.
For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ.
15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others.
But our hope is that
as your faith increases,
our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged,
16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence.
17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved,
but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10 Summary
The apostle Paul apparently wasn't an impressive guy in person, describing his physical appearance as being weak, and his speech of no account (v10). But even this diminutive man had the power to destroy strongholds and arguments because Paul was not waging war according to the flesh, but was using Spiritual weapons (v4-5).
Chapters like this one are good reminders that Paul was planting churches, not trying to start a movement. Getting a movement started depends on the charisma and bold claims of a leader who must inject continual energy to keep disparate groups of people all focused on one thing and marching in the same direction. Paul makes it clear that he wasn't that type of leader; he had nothing to boast about in that regard.
Rather that being a movement of people being led to accomplish some sort of societal change, the Church is a gathering of people responding to the gospel - an announcement of good news. The boast of the Church is not her high energy, well polished leaders who can manipulate you to follow and support their own ideas and opinions, the boast of the church is the good news that you have been brought to new life in the Kingdom of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We live in a day and age in which the size and influence of the Church seems to be waning. Fewer and fewer people associate themselves with the Church, and even fewer are actively engaged in it.
While it's certainly true that there is a much smaller percentage of our communities that belong to our congregations, don't for a minute fall into the trap of thinking that the Church's power is diminished.
Now more than ever we need Christians to push back against the web of lies that society has spun - the lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God. Be aware of the power that you have as one who has the knowledge of the truth made known in the pages of scripture you are reading and pray that in the Spirit you will look at what is before your eyes (v7) and actively work to take every thought captive to obey Christ (v5).
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God who will demolish all arguments that set themselves against Him (v4)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your boasts will be in Christ, and not worldly accomplishments.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: