2 Corinthians 12
2 Corinthians 12

2 Corinthians 12

2 Corinthians 12:1-21

1  It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:

2  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.

3  And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—

4  how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

5  Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.

6  For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

7  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

8  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

9  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

11  I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.

12  Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

13  For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

14  Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

16  But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning!

17  Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you?

18  I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

19  Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.

20  For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;

21  lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

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5 months ago

For the minister, there is this balance between a selfless passion for the betterment of the ministered and a need for their personal response that indicates passionate sharing has made an impact. How disheartening it may be when great personal endurance on behalf of a church is met with no honor in transformed and delivered lives. Paul is frustrated in his humble sharing from a vessel empty of any presumption of self-worth that is being displaced by those displaying the opposite, ministries based on personal promotion. He knows that he could very well get on board with that approach and spout all of his personal encounters and testimonies, but to do so would draw attention from the One he was commissioned to glorify. Somehow, the requirement of honor and respect that is necessary for transformation from ministry received is continually under threat of distraction by impressive alternatives that will undermine and displace that honor. While this is an ongoing personal conflict, it is also dangerous for those experiencing it, as this compromise of the heart opens it to sin that will corrupt and destroy.
There is contention for the attention of hearts that is not for personal gain but for their very protection and preservation. To have just been offended by this church and abandoned them in their treatment of him, Paul displayed true love by baring his heart and even boasting a bit to gain access to their hearts somehow, hoping to keep them from falling. Emulating this perspective, where the people’s salvation is always the heart’s motive and drive, will keep that heart from the dangers of falling into the same enticements that threaten them. Pressing past concerns for recognition and personal honor will enable the steps that will bring restoration and repentance to those who have fallen away.

5 months ago

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