2 Corinthians is a great book, and a great friend & mentor who has had a massive impact on my life wrote a PhD dissertation looking a lot at passages in this book. So coming to it this time round, I was very conscious of expecting to find things related to Scott’s dissertation. However, God brought up different things to my attention.
- 6.4-10 This is a part where Paul talks about the different way he commends himself to the Corinthian church. When I was reading this I stopped to make notes that he commends himself in three categories:
- “we commend ourselves by our” : Purity, Knowledge, Patience, Kindness, the Holy Spirit, Genuine Love, Truthfulness/honesty and by God’s power…
- “we commend ourselves through” : use of Righteous weapons (either to advance or defend), being honoured & dishonoured, being praised & blamed, being considered deceptive & sincere, being unknown or famous.
- “we commend ourselves as“ : God’s Workers headed for death (by (v4): enduring troubles, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, overwork, lack of sleep and food.) yet alive, punished yet not killed, reason to be sad yet filled with joy, poor yet making many rich, having nothing yet having everything!
I think there is a lot in these verses. Particularly as I consider how I want to be recognised and commended. BY seems to be the things about them, where am I on this list? THROUGH seems to be their reputation and they commend themselves whether the reputation is good or bad! AS seems to be as people who are being inwardly transformed whilst outwardly wasting. These, particularly the last two, are so upside down to what the world around us values!
I know this first point is really messy, and difficult to follow, I’m sorry about that!
- 10.17-18 : Simply put, I really like the connection between boasting about God and being recommended by God. I notice a theme now! There is so much to boast about God, that He created the universe is a pretty good place to start! May I boast more and more in God!
- 13.6-7 : “But I hope you will realise that we are not failures…[but] we are not concerned with our appearing successful, but with your doing what is right, even if we appear to be failures.” I really like Paul’s attitude in all of this, he doesn’t naturally want to be considered failures but is willing to for the sake of others. It’s really like Jesus who despite being God, didn’t consider equality with Him something to be grasped at but made Himself nothing for our sake! I really want to be like this, and be willing to look like a fool or a failure for others – that they may love and worship God even more. Help me God become like this in my thinking and attitude! Amen.