Taking pride in us
Taking pride in us
Words of Faith 10-6-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 5
[11b] What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.  We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
Paul had already made it very clear that he lived to please God and no one else. Yet here Paul also seems to defend his reputation. He asks that the Corinthians believers take some pride in him. Most scholars agree that this was in response to the fierce opposition that Paul met in carrying out God's commission to persuade people. He had been accused and maligned. His only purpose in referring to himself is to make sure that the message of the Gospel was not impeded.
Understandably, a Christian's message is intimately bound up with his life and ministry. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians-- "Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake (1:5). The Life and the message are not separable.
Paul saw the need in this letter to justify and defend his conduct in order to win a hearing for his message. He followed the tactic used earlier in the letter, affirming before God the sincerity of his motives and calling on the Corinthians to confirm this by their own experiences with him.
Paul put no stock in external credentials or associations. It was not the externality of the Law but the internality of the Spirit that authenticated his ministry. Nor was he concerned simply about his own reputation among the Corinthians. What did concern him was the reception of his message. He needed to be regarded as a servant of Christ so that his message would be regarded as the message of God. If they "took pride" in him, the messenger, then they could answer these opponents who looked on the outward appearance (what is seen) rather than what one is like inwardly in the heart.
Paul was not looking for the Corinthians to boast about him. He had dealt with the problem of people who formed schisms based on pride in their leaders. He would have nothing to do with that. But Paul did see this opportunity for the Corinthians to affirm the purity of his character and mission.
It seems these days that church folks either take far too much or far too little pride in their pastors. Some churches explode with growth because members rave about the pastor and sometimes we see that wasn't such a good thing. Visitors to other churches never hear a good word about the pastor and are left wondering there is something wrong that everyone knows about but them. Paul didn't want raves or accolades from the Corinthians believers but he knew that their testimony on his behalf could make the difference in face of fierce opposition.
So how about you? Are you taking pride in your church? Your leaders? Your pastor? Do you speak up on behalf of the man and the message in a positive way? Do you help others to see what is in the heart so that they can hear the message?
Father God, help me to have a positive and healthy response to my leaders. Help me to find the right kind of pride in those who are faithfully serving the Kingdom and proclaiming the Good News. Help me to be an encouragement to those who give their lives for the Gospel. In Jesus' Name.
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