Here are some phrases in 2 Corinthians 2-6 that jumped out at me as I read through these chapters recently:
2 Cor. 2:6 to the one a savor from death unto death; to the other a savor from life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
2 Cor. 3:5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;
2 Cor. 3:12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,
2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves
2 Cor. 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.
2 Cor 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
2 Cor. 6:4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
2 Cor 6:10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
I have a dilemma. Just yesterday I was talking and praying through this dilemma with my prayer partner. Recently I find myself caught in the middle of two ideas. I am caught between the truths that God desires our service to come from humility. And yet, Paul doesn’t have any trouble expressing him self boldly with believers.
Humility and boldness do not yet belong in the same sentence for me. God has been working on breaking my pride down for some time now. I used to hate the words submission and obedience. Up until four or five years ago, I wouldn’t have been honest enough with you to tell you that. But God knew. He allowed, even invited some pretty tough stuff into my life, so He could love me through the need for transformation regarding those two words. The tough stuff was very humbling stuff. The amazing result of that loving discipline is that I don’t hate the words submission and obedience any more. I value what humbling situations and an attitude of humility has done for making my heart teachable. This whole experience has been mostly internal. Spoken out loud only to my husband, my prayer partner and one on one conversations with those who have sought to know what God is doing in my life and desire a deep and loving relationship with the Lord for themselves.
Paul’s example of boldness and confidence confuses me. When my mindset switches to those two words, it is very difficult for me to continue to embrace humility. Boldness and confidence are associated with experiences from moments when I wasn’t feeling humble at all. Things like playing high school and college volleyball, passing the CPA exam, solving problems for business clients etc. God has given me natural leadership skills. For the longest time those were used from a place of pride. Even though, I now know that all that I am and all that I offer comes from God. When I switch into some of those leadership behaviors with people beyond my close circle, those that know my heart well, I battle with pride. I don’t like battling with my pride so I tend to shrink back and not want to engage.
I appreciate these verses from 2 Corinthians, Paul expresses with certainty that his confidence comes from the Lord. He ministers with confidence not from a place of arrogance but because he wants everyone to know the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He wants believers to know what God expects of their lives as believers.
One of the verses says, “Regard no one from a worldly point of view.” I think this may be one of the keys I have been missing. I get tripped up when I regard others and my interactions with them in ministry from a worldly point of view. I’ll be asking the Lord to help me change in this area.
Lord willing, I want to get to a place where I can express with boldness and confidence my faith, my walk and certainty that I am just the messenger. Any goodness in me comes from God dwelling in me. I’m asking the Lord to help me understand all this better. I’m also asking the Lord to help me have humble reactions to people when what their saying things that tempt me to feed my pride in myself rather than God. I want to replace those with genuine feelings of awe over what the Lord is doing.