2 Corinthians 10-13

A word to the leader:  Even if you do your job well, there will still be people who think the worst of you.  I mean, if they crucified Jesus and didn’t appreciate Paul….what can we expect?    Today’s passage makes me think about suffering and ministry, and how it all glorifies the Lord.

So Paul sounds like someone who has been attacked by the church.   I mean, he mentions that they have said he is not a good speaker, that he’s timid (not a good leadership characteristic) and that he has been taking advantage of them!   It seems like that don’t recall that Paul did many miracles among them, and had never taken any money from them at all.    He calls attention to the fact that he has actually been less demanding with them than with other congregations, and has received more complaints for his trouble.    They seem to be disenchanted with Paul because he doesn’t act like the worldly leaders that they are used to hearing from.

10:3   “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.”    In our original nature we use guile, strength and all sorts of persuasion to try and get others to do what we want.  If those don’t work, then we resort to blackmail, threats and force.   We would also try to sway public opinion in our favor…perhaps even by fabricating a storyline.      That’s how humans wage war.    But as Christians, we don’t “fight” in the same way.   Probably because we understand that we aren’t fighting a physical battle as much as we are fighting a spiritual one.   Our spiritual battle is waged against the true enemy, the devil, who wins when he causes us to resort to our original nature.   We win our battle against him when we respond with love, compassion, honesty and humility.     And let’s not forget suffering:

I wince as I think about all of the persecutions that Paul endured.   Just being beaten by the Jews five times is enough.  395 lashes…..39 lashes 5 different times.   Paul’s whole back must have been nothing but scars from that alone.    Then he was beaten with rods, stoned and shipwrecked.    I mean, the level of his commitment and dedication are really humbling.   I would like to think that I would do the same in his situation, but I also understand that it takes a special person to do what Paul did.

Paul is a “living witness” that good can come from suffering, and of how we should approach our opportunities to suffer.   Because that’s what they are…..opportunities.   Opportunities to be like Jesus, opportunities to share and model our faith, opportunities to spread the gospel.

As I read today’s passage, I understand that the church in Corinth has some problems with Paul, but for the life of me I can’t understand how they could have come to the conclusion that Paul was against them.     I guess we should always be on our guard against the devil.