No matter how obviously God used Paul as His servant, there have always been detractors, those who mock or speak meanly of him. To be sure, Paul was a powerful messenger of the Lord. If boasting of himself were appropriate, he would certainly have reason to boast. However, Paul remained humble in thinking and speaking of himself.
When we become disciples, or learners, after Christ and try to share the good news of the gospel with others it is a spiritual fight we are engaged in. When you stand for Christ, do not expect people to praise you. We must choose how we respond and engage, but do not do so without time in prayer with the Lord and the help of the Spirit to guide us. Unlike other religions based on men’s false beliefs, we are not to force anyone to accept and follow Christ. This would be meaningless. We have power of truth on our side. The historical facts are actually overwhelmingly supportive of the truth of Jesus Christ as Messiah and Son of God.
We must also not change God’s instructions to His people and keep the name of “Christians”, as so many do today. They identify as Christian and then reject what scripture teaches and try to redefine God in their immoral image. Rather they should be changing their immoral behavior to line up with God’s character and teaching. He even had it written down so as to have a record we could all access… the Bible. Rebuke and correction of our brothers and sisters who depart from truth in God’s revelation is part of the role of a true follower of Christ, as Paul demonstrated repeatedly. We rebuke because we love, not because we hate.
Paul Describes Himself
1Now 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! 2I 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. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
7You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. 8For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, 9for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” 11Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.
12For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 13But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; 15not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, 16so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another. 17But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD. 18For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.
Let us live apart from the world, though in the world. Let us set a holy example for others. Boast not in yourself but in God. When we stand for Christ, we will come under attack by men… even, and at times especially, from people who identify as Christian. They want to wear the label of Christ but not live according to His teaching. Look not for the approval of wicked men who twist God’s word or even your own self approval, but rather seek the approval of the Lord as His humble servant.
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.