2 Corinthians 10
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.
8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
“I don’t want it to seem like I’m trying to intimidate you with my letters,” counsels Pastor Paul (vs. 9). His life stands in stark contrast to his opponents who are busy “promoting themselves” (vs. 12). Instead “we won’t take pride in anything more than what is appropriate” because they were “the first ones to travel as far as Corinth with the gospel of Christ” (vs. 13-14).
In a recent article in Christianity Today, Andy Crouch poignantly observes that with social media we are dealing with new kinds of problems. It is increasingly common to be caught up in how many “likes” or comments one gets online. Although Western society has prided itself on being very individualistic, Crouch asserts that in some ways we are developing a phenomenon of “fame-shame culture” that becomes “a powerful currency of status” (The Return of Shame, March 2015). In many ways the principle that Pastor Paul lays down is a helpful one within the online world of status updates. Let’s not get caught up in ourselves, but instead use our social media footprint to encourage others and lift up Jesus Christ.
Associate Professor of Religion
Southwestern Adventist University
Keene, Texas USA