Boasting of the Best

2 Corinthians 10-13

We are going through our final chapters in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians!  Thank you for sticking with me through this last week and listening to my ramblings 😊

As Paul is finishing up his letters, he seems to talk a lot about boasting.  Boasting can be defined as possessing something as a source of pride.  Paul is possessing the knowledge of the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and what that means for his sinful life.  He takes pride in the fact that he belongs to Christ, and he wants others to be proud of that too (10:2).  He doesn’t want people to be proud of themselves or their own accomplishments, but only be proud of the Lord and being part of a group of believers (10:17).

In chapter 11 Paul talks about those who do boast about themselves and discusses how at the very most we should only be willing to boast about our weakness (11:30).  In order to be in a position that you are not only willing to share a weakness but are seeking to openly and proudly share a weakness, you must be truly dedicated and excited to be part of that movement.  Paul understood the impact that sharing his weakness, or his testimony, would have on believers because he got to experience first-hand the grace of God.

Paul didn’t always want to deal with the things that created his testimony, he calls them a thorn used to torment him (12:7).  He asked for the things that were difficult for him to be taken away, and Jesus told him “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (12:9).  Paul did not innately know that the things that were difficult, that were shaping his testimony, were going to be used for God’s glory.  But when he learned that his weakness would only more greatly reflect grace, he did not shy away and try to hide or change his weaknesses to present himself as higher than he was to the church.  All too often Christians can feel this pressure to hide the parts of their life that weren’t “pretty” in the eyes of other believers.  But most times, what we have gone through and come out of because of the grace of God is one of the most powerful tools in bringing people to Christ and encouraging believers.  We should be boasting in our weaknesses, in what God has brought us out of, with the purpose of growing and strengthening the Church.

Paul closes his letter by saying this: “Finally, brothers, rejoice.  Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (13:11).  Part of becoming mature can include developing and sharing your testimony.  Being encouraged can happen when you share and hear about testimonies from other believers.  We are all of the same mind when we focus on growing and strengthening the Church.  And being at peace comes from knowing that each believer has that same focus.  When we are able to do all of these things, God will be with us and give us His strength to complete tasks we never thought possible. 

We make up the Church, and we are responsible for continuing to grow the Church and keep one another strong in the faith.  Paul’s letters are a great place to start when looking for ways to be part of the Church, but there is absolutely a level of personal communication with God that is necessary to know where He wants you to be.  I encourage you to take time today to reflect on your own testimony and to ask God who He wants you to share this testimony with.  You may be surprised where He leads you!

Thank you all for joining me through the Corinthians!  This week has been a great time for me to refocus on the mission, and I hope it was for you all as well.  Until next time, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

-Sarah Blanchard Johnson

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 2 Corinthians 10-13

Tomorrow we begin a new week reading Acts 20:1-3 and Romans 1-3.

Lift His Name Higher

2 Corinthians 10

2 Corinthians 10 17

 

“We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

2 Corinthians 10:15-18 ESV

 

It’s human nature to seek recognition. I see this come to life within my classroom full of preschoolers. Throughout the day, I watch their actions and encourage them to be kind and helpful towards one another. In turn, I like to celebrate a few students each day and write out what we like to call “kindness notes” with a sticker of their choice to take home to their families. All the children in the classroom give a big “woop woop” to the student receiving the note after we read it aloud for all to hear. The students who hear about and see the child with the kindness note also want to be kind and helpful later on as they have seen their friends doing good works and they too want to join in (& take a sticker home). However, it’s not always about having recognition for ourselves.

 

They may be four but I can learn a lot from the childlike hearts that fill up my days. Cooper is a young student within my class who may be entirely silly at times but he really does have such a big heart. I was celebrating Cooper’s accomplishments just this week as he worked very hard to help decorate our classroom to fit the theme of the week: jungle days. In speaking about this student to another teacher, Cooper was sure to stop me in my tracks to make sure that it was clear that he was not deserving of all of the credit himself. At the end of the day, it was his friends that helped him decorate and that was all that truly mattered to him.

In thinking about this simple action and as I read Paul’s words, I too have asked the question, “Am I the person who boasts about myself or do I put my boast in God and Jesus, the ones who are responsible for all the gains that I may have in this life?”

 

Encouraging others to do good works is not a bad thing! In fact, talking about your actions can have a positive effect on those around you. However, there are limitations. As we read here in 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about how one should boast; “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” Or, as my fiance would say, “Don’t boast, raise a toast,” as we are not supposed to boast about what we do but rather boast about what God and Jesus are doing through us. My friends, as our faith grows, may we continue to let it spread amongst others and with humble hearts, always seek to lift the name of the Lord higher and higher. If you haven’t heard it before, I encourage you to check out Lecrae’s song “Boasting” as it sums up 2 Corinthians 10 well. At the end of the day, it’s really not about us. But boy am I grateful that I can put my boast in the Lord and bring glory to his name.

 

“Boasting” Chorus: Lecrae (Ft. Anthony Evans)

If this life has anything to gain at all

I’ll count it loss if I can’t hear you, feel you, ’cause I need you.

Can’t walk this earth alone.

I recognize I’m not my own, so before I fall

I need to hear you, feel you, as I live to make my boast in you alone.

 

-Kayla Tullis