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. for though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. [2 corinthians 10:1-6]
paul acknowledges that he cares for them dearly by his controlled strength yet boldness in sharing and encouraging truth. paul truly is a servant leader, both fully serving while fully leading. it is a tension that we all face as leaders, often prone to having more strength in one than the other.
paul demonstrates that as believers, we aren’t door mats. we can both simultaneously “consider others more important than ourselves,” while speaking truth to what God has called us to do and who we are in him. we can clarify, remind and correct. paul reminds the corinthians of his gentleness and true care for them as he continues to challenge them in the coming chapters.
paul urges against false accusations and to remember that,
we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. [ephesians 6:12]
- instead of the belt of truth, the corinthians fought with manipulation
- instead of the breastplate of righteousness, they fought with the image of success
- instead of the shoes of the gospel, they fought with smooth words
- instead of the shield of faith, they fought with the perception of power
- instead of the helmet of salvation, they fought with lording over authority
- instead of the sword of the spirit, they fought with human schemes and programs
what is distracting you in the flesh from the spiritual warfare around you?
~ natalie schmidt