i, paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—i who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when i am away!— 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. [2 corinthians 10:1-2]
paul is describing his actions and attitude in the Spirit of Christ toward the corinthian church with many words here that somehow come together in a holy and helpful way to build up the body of Christ and stir up the church to love and good deeds.
- meekness- blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (matt 5:5) meekness is a confident and calm humility stemming from an unshaken identity as a child of the King. meekness does not seek self glorification. meekness does not seek self defense. meekness does not seek vengeance. meekness does not fear man. meekness flows out in unconditional love and compassion.
- gentleness- take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for i am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (matt 11:29) gentleness is the very heart of Christ. it is full of compassion alongside a yearning for others to taste and see that the Lord is good. it does not use truth as a battering ram, but also does not boil truth down until it no longer resembles truth. it is winsome. it is nurturing. it only comes from walking in the Spirit.
- humble- humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time, he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 peter 5:6-7) the opposite of anxiety is humility toward God. humility is knowing that in ourselves, we are nothing, but in Christ, we are made heirs. fear is unbelief in his character and his promises. he wants us to humble ourselves under him because he cares for us! with complete confidence in his sovereign plan for us, we will not fear. this will lead to a humility toward others because we will not feel the need to prove ourselves to anyone, knowing that the only opinion that matters is that of our heavenly Father who has already proven his love for us! for He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (rom 8:32) God did the hard thing because he wants to give us EVERYTHING! so we have NOTHING to fear. therefore, with great confidence, humble yourself.
- bold- and most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (phil 1:14) boldness is confidence in the Lord to speak the word without fear. notice it has nothing to do with confidence in paul’s personality, skills, gifts, or achievements. notice it has nothing to do with speaking opinions or preferences. the bible has plenty to say about the man who has fleshly boldness. not good things. but confidence in the Lord with the word can save souls. it can restore relationships. it can reveal sin. it can lead others to worship. it doesn’t shy away from the truth. it is a confident pleading to submit to God.
- confidence- we have confidence in our good and sovereign God to work all things according to his perfect will. (eph 1) we have nothing to bring to the table in ourselves. but God is pleased to use us in his amazing plan to unite all things to himself. as only one piece in God’s puzzle, we can’t always see where we fit, but we can see him, in all his greatness and power, knowing that he sees it all, and is able to fit all things together. so we entreat him with confidence to use us to build up the body as he wills. let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (heb 4:16)
Father, i am desperate for you. in my flesh, i was dead in my sin. but in your great mercy you made me alive with your Son. thank you for this undeserved grace. use me as you will, with all boldness in humility, with all confident gentleness and meekness that comes through the Spirit, to the praise of your glorious grace.