Read This Week: 2 Corinthians 10

You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it.
– 2 Corinthians 10:7-8 NIV

Critics are everywhere. They often judge by appearance, arouse fear, and command an audience that is not deserved or earned. It has been said that people seek to control others through criticism, and we have all been manipulated by critics. We’ve all felt intimidated, negatively influenced, and left uneasy by words of criticism.

All of this does not suggest that we should be ignorant of the critic’s existence. We can learn something from a dissenting voice, but we shouldn’t regard the critic more than God. In 2 Corinthians 10, the Apostle Paul addresses some of his critics, false teachers in Corinth that were saying he was a coward; that he was bold in his letters but humble and meek in person. This claim caused many to doubt his sincerity, the spiritual nature of his message, and his heart. These were serious charges.

But Paul demonstrates how we should respond to criticism and appeal to the One who matters most. He is humble, compassionate, and deliberate in his words but doesn’t compromise his integrity or confidence in the truth. He evokes the gentleness and humility of Christ while asserting the moral authority to speak on behalf of God in the Spirit’s power. He writes in verses 3-4, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. On the contrary, the weapons we fight with have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Paul does not stoop to the level of returning fire or criticism. He considers the accusations and tests them against the truth to measure their validity and act accordingly. He continues in verses 5-6: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Paul knew the truth of his heart and ministry. His only concern was his obedience to Christ and making sure his actions were right with God. He challenged them to look at the facts as they knew them and as God had confirmed, not what others said. His approach is a great lesson when it comes to our handling of criticism and responding to those who talk badly about or accuse us of things that aren’t true.

Lastly, Paul had no fear because he knew his life and work aligned with God, the only One who counts. He wasn’t worried that what he wrote wouldn’t match up with his own life. His conduct in person would be in sync with his letters. He asserted, “If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.” In other words, he was confident in the face of criticism because he was comfortable that his teachings honored Jesus, therefore, making them good for others.

May we follow the example outlined in this chapter when it comes to unfair and unjust criticism. May we not react in anger or a fleshly desire for vindication. But may our lives match up with God’s truth and the life of Jesus so succinctly that the voices of the critics ring hollow. Then we can live with confidence and go about the work God has called us to with no fear or anxiety of what others may think or say about it.

There is only One voice that truly counts, so let’s make sure we listen to what He has to say above all the rest. Remember, it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

10 Comments

  1. almaschmidt on April 29, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    This week in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 I was blessed with a song from Pastor Ken’s message called, “God’s Team”:

    God knows, God knows, God knows who we are
    Learning his peace
    Seeking his Heart
    Wanting his power

    He gives us strength when we are weak
    Gives us love when we feel pain

    God knows, God knows, God knows who we are

    We are God’s team living with God
    Speaking his words
    Winning, winning, winning
    Leading us to victory. Amen

    God is so amazing. He loves us through everything. He is always a wonderful giver. We will get so much more in our life if we just give from our hearts. It is about responding to our Father.

    • Jason on April 30, 2020 at 11:40 am

      I love this one, Alma. There is never a time when it is not uplifting and needed to hear that God knows who we are, that He loves us, and we are on his team. I appreciate the way you point out that no matter what happens, our ultimate victory is in Him. We can’t lose in the end.

      Your song reminds me of the one that I used to sing to my daughter at bedtime when she was little called “He Knows My Name”:

      I have a Maker
      He formed my heart
      Before even time began
      My life was in his hands

      He knows my name
      He knows my every thought
      He sees each tear that falls
      And He hears me when I call

  2. Sam Centers on April 30, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    This week I have grown closer to God more than ever before. I know he is our healer and our protector, he gives and takes. But mostly he gives us a day of Thanksgiving to Him. We never know when we are going home to Him. But I am so so thankful to Him for everything.

    • Jason on May 5, 2020 at 9:44 am

      I’m blessed to hear this testimony, Sam. Your post reads like a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord. May we all stop each day and thank Him for all He has done.

  3. Heidi on May 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    What I love about Paul is that he always puts God first. He loved God so much and stood up for the truth. He did everything to serve God and people and loved to build people up, encourage them, train them, and teach them the truth because he loved them. He loved to tell everyone about the good news of Jesus!

    For those who want to build a life with God, they have to live in His presence more than they live in the flesh. What it takes is to put God first. Ask Him to help you, study the bible, as you do more and more, you begin to learn to hear the Holy Spirit. He helps you to understand what is right and what is wrong thinking. He also helps you seek God and make the right choices. As you do this, you will grow stronger in what you believe and your mind will be renewed.

    I want to thank God for all His love. He is always here to lead us in the right way and puts people in our lives to tell us all about His love. We have people who love us that we can fellowship with on the phone right now. They can help us focus and keep our minds on good thoughts. They help us listen to encouraging words, those that build us up, and to know the difference. God helps us reach out and encourage and build others up for Him and also make us thankful that we get to do that.

    • Jason on May 6, 2020 at 10:22 am

      Heidi, this was my favorite line from your comment that was impactful: “For those who want to build a life with God, they have to live in His presence more than they live in the flesh.” This is so true, isn’t it? When we listen to the one voice of God over all those other voices that live in our flesh and exist outside of us, we truly develop a deep intimacy with Him that allows us to not only do life but live victoriously. Thank you for the reminder.

  4. Kathy on May 2, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    God was speaking to me in this chapter. He said to me the weapons of your warfare are spiritual. These weapons are mighty in Me for pulling down strongholds. Your spiritual weapons are scorned by the world but feared by demonic powers. Strongholds are wrong thoughts and perceptions contradicting the true knowledge of Me and My nature. Your reliance on carnal methods and the habit of carnal thinking is a true stronghold. It sets deep roots in your heart and mind, and it colors all of your actions and thinking. My power can break down those strongholds. Strongholds can be pulled down!

    Carnal and worldly ways of thinking and doing are arguments against My mind and My methods. They want to debate Me, saying you have a better way. Your thoughts must be brought captive and made obedient to My son Jesus. You are to know who you are in Christ, and be strong and encourage others. I want to renew your mind if you will let Me. Seek Me on all your thoughts and learn to bring peace into all your situations. You belong to Me. Do not glory in yourself, glory in Me.

    It doesn’t matter how you talk about your own accomplishments, It is what I say about you that matters and will endure.

    • Jason on May 6, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Thank you, Kathy, for reflecting and reminding us that in the power of Christ, the strongholds in our lives, even the ones that plague us the most, can be pulled down! The power of Christ and his resurrection is stronger than any hurt, habit, or hang-up that we struggle with and can tear down the hold they have on us.

      This is a message we all need to hear. That we don’t have to live under the power of sin as Romans 8 so powerfully assures us. It is a hopeful truth.

  5. Jeri Centers on May 3, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    God gave me a word this week from 2 Corinthians 10:5. We need to continually rid ourselves of every negative thought and everything that sets itself up against Jesus Christ our Lord. If we don’t, we can’t move on to where God wants us to be and walk in the ways of Jesus, love and grace, and truly be set free. The enemy comes and attacks our minds to stop what God wants to do. We shouldn’t listen to the lies from the enemy, there is no truth in them.

    What this means to me is that our thoughts should be on the things of God that build us up in our faith, singing His praises and worshipping Him. This is how we can actively take every thought captive to Christ, by filling our minds with the things of God, and doing what we know is right.

    • Jason on May 6, 2020 at 11:06 am

      I like your use of the word continually, Jeri. I believe that is a big key to your thought and one that must be present in the application of God’s truth every day especially when it comes to combating the lies of the enemy.

      The warfare is ongoing and continuous, therefore, our correspondence to truth and continually ridding ourselves of every negative thought that sets itself up against Jesus Christ our Lord must also happen on a continuous and regular basis. It has to be a daily effort to hear the One Voice of God over all the rest. This is how we live victoriously.

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