2 Corinthians 10

This devotional is written by Caroline Ford. 

2 Corinthians 10

Paul's defence of his ministry
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you - I, Paul, who am 'timid' when face to face with you, but 'bold' towards you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

7 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. 8 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. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, 'His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.' 11 Such people should realise that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

12 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. 13 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. 14 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. 15 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, 16 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. 17 But, '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.


Todays reading reminds us that we are not created to live as the world lives, or judge as the world judges or fight as the world fights.

'The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world' it says. With the Ukraine war we are seeing such a powerful example of the way the world can fight. It's full of horror and darkness. And we know our life will unfortunately be full of battles, both physical and mental. But we also know that we have been given the most powerful weapons of all, the ones that can actually fundamentally change things. We have Gods unfailing and unconditional love, we have Jesus to talk to and guide us and we have the spirit of God living within us. God has in fact given us everything we need to navigate this world and to win our battles.

We are called to be different. The passage starts saying 'by the humility and gentleness of Christ'. I see how often these traits can be far removed from the things this world celebrates. Humility, gentleness, quietness and kindness can sometimes be seen as weakness. But how wrong we know that is! The writer has been put in a box by his readers, they have assumed that because he has these traits he is not allowed to also be strong. People love to put others in neat boxes. But that is not the way God created us to be. We are so many different and brilliant things all at the same time. Being gentle and humble doesn't mean you aren't also fierce and powerful. God is both the lion and the lamb.

This passage at first glance can feel aggressive, but on deeper reading i've found it to be a strongly expressed message of kindness, openness and authenticity. Asking us to celebrate our own God given gifts and those of the people around us.

So today let's try to be gentle and humble like Jesus. Let's try to not limit anyone by putting them in a box. Let's try to build people up. Because in all of us resides something far more powerful than any weapon the world can throw at us; the divine power and love of God.

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