Summary: God wants us to know Him and wants us to tear down anything that keeps us & others from knowing Him. Old patterns of thinking & behavior keep us bound from thinking about & doing the ministry of God.
2 CORINTHIANS 10: 1-6 [GAINING PERSPECTIVE Series]
THE DESTRUCTION OF SPIRITUAL FORTRESSES
Paul now turns to the third part of the letter in chapters 10 to 13. In this section he will vigorously defend himself against the accusations of the stubborn legalistic Judaizers. Sold out ministers of Christ down through the ages have had to pass through similar fiery trials. Paul shows the manner for dealing with usurped authority. He speaks of himself plainly but under compulsion of circumstances. The legalists based their authority on tradition and human strength. Paul said his authority come from his call and his spiritual walk with God. This authority is demonstrated not in personal demeanor or words but in spiritual warfare. God given authority is displayed in the effective use of the spiritual weapons of God and not in the demeanor of the natural man (CIT).
God wants us to know Him and wants us to tear down anything that keeps us and others from knowing Him. Old patterns of thinking and behavior keep us bound from thinking about and doing the ministry of God. Do you have thoughts and actions that weaken your service of God? Do they cause you anxiety or frustration which hinders your prayer life and the coherency of your Bible reading? If so, you need to listen intently to Paul's description of how to obtain victory through spiritual warfare. Here Paul teaches how to tear down debilitating old habits and thought patterns that assail and thwart us when we attempt to move closer to God. Let us learn what the weapons of our warfare can accomplish.
I. THE ACCUSATION OF WEAKNESS, 1-2.
II. THE ANSWER OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH, 3-5.
III. THE ACTIVITY OF COMPLETE OBEDIENCE, 6.
Paul’s loving demeanor as true servant of Christ often came across as meek to those around him as verse 1 indicates. “Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ- I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!”
Paul begins with an emphatic emphasis on his own person, I, Paul, myself. This emphasis is fitting since in these chapters Paul will lay open his individual life and character far more than in any other part of his writings. Paul urged or encourage them [παρακλεω, call them along side ] by [by the influence of or on account of] the meekness and gentleness of Christ (Mt. 11:29; Phil. 4:5). Paul wants to follow His Lord's example for he realized that true spiritual power is found in meekness and gentleness not in throwing weight around. Meekness is more than self-control, it is a humbleness that wants God's control. Kindness or gentleness is the opposite of roughness, bad temper, flash point anger. It is non-violent, non combative attitude that does not press for all one's rights.
Paul's purpose was to exalt Christ, not himself (1 Cor. 2:1-5). He refused the dictatorial leadership style that would make them dependant on him and the strength of his will. He wanted his converts to trust the Lord and not the servant so he deliberately played down his own authority and rights.
Paul is also addressing his aggressive boisterous accusers who pointed out that he was lowly or of humble contrite conduct while with them (1 Cor. 2:23; 2 Cor. 7:6). His enemy portrayed his mild and non-dominating presence as weakness. Then when his letters showed boldness they said he was like a dog that barks loud at a distance but skiddish when present. Yet he was only following his Lord's example of inner strength not outer bluster (Luke 23:34).
Paul continues in verse two letting them know that his inner strength is spiritual strength. “I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.”
Paul continues the appeal of verse 1 even when contemplating his challenge. He earnestly desires them to put their house, their church, their life in order so that he may not be forced on his arrival to demonstrate that he is not only capable of writing them bold letters but also of being courageous in their midst. There was spiritual energy abiding in him which they would do well not to provoke. He had been invested by Christ with authority which he wanted to use to build up, not to tear down.
Paul though was confident that God would be with him in his boldness because of his apostolic giftedness and because of all the battles of faith he had fought in Christ’s service through the years. But Paul refused to govern by demand even when it was within his rights.
There is a popular misconception that meekness and kindness are incompatible with sternness. Yet Christ Himself could stand against false teachers and hypocrites with the most severest possible terms (Mt. 23:13-33, 15:1-2; Mk. 11 :15-17; In. 2:13-16). Judaizers judged Paul as if he walked according to the flesh. They judged him as if all his action and abilities were focused on himself and his place in this life. But that was not the case, all his energies and interests were focused on Christ, not himself.