The Corinthians church had a pride problem. Right off the bat, Paul confronted their pride.
— 1 Corinthians 1.28-29, 31 – God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
In contrast to the puffed-up pride of certain church leaders, Paul was proud of God’s grace.
— 2 Corinthians 1.12 – Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity.
We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.
I recently listened to a video by Dallas Willard. He recommended that his listeners stop pretending.
I’ve never heard a speaker ask his audience to stop pretending, but there is wisdom in Willard’s statement.
The contrast to self-inflated pride is truthful, sincere, and honest communication. This kind of communication is only possible when we stop pretending.
Paul defends the truth.
Paul told the Corinthian church that he intended to visit them. The Holy Spirit had different plans for Paul and changed the course of his work.
Some people in Corinth accused Paul of being dishonest. As God’s ambassador, if Paul were dishonest it reflected on God’s truthfulness, too.
Throughout the letter, Paul set the church straight concerning his integrity.
— 2 Corinthians 1.15-18 – Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice.
I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea.
Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?
But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”
Was Paul dishonest, saying “Yes I’m coming,” when in actuality his actions revealed, “No I’m not coming to you?”
I think it was Stephen Covey who described relationships with the analogy of a bank.
When we fulfill our promises it is like making a deposit in the “relationship” account. When we are dishonest or hurtful, we make a withdrawal.
If we send mixed messages, the people around us will not be able to trust us. It is possible to remove so many deposits from a person that the relationship is irrecoverably broken.
Like Paul, we need to give people a clear message about our intentions and then follow through with our statements.
God’s Promises Are “Yes.”
Paul did not want his relationship with the church to reflect poorly on God. He declared that we can always trust God’s promises.
— 2 Corinthians 1.19-20 – For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us — by me and Silas and Timothy — was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.”
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
James highlighted God’s unwavering character.
— James 1.17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
God’s promises are always “Yes,” and we can affirm them to be true with a resounding “Amen.”
Our behavior demonstrates our trust in God’s promises. James describes the state of someone who wavers in their trust in God.
— James 1.8 – Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
A double-minded person may trust God, but at the same time have another plan if they don’t get what they want from God.
As ambassadors for Christ, our actions will build trust in God or detract from it. It is crucial that in word and deed we make deposits into the lives of people around us.
We represent Jesus and our humble obedience will help them think properly of our magnificent Savior.
Please take a few minutes to listen to Rudy Ross and me talk about this passage. The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.