“A lie that is all of a lie can be met with and fought outright
But a lie that is partly the truth is a harder matter to fight”
Paul’s letters to the church are truly a blessing.
In 1 Cor 11, he writes:
“even though i am untrained in speech.. i am more than a minister of Christ”
and his reason for this is that
v23: he worked hard than any of those claiming to be apostles so that they could be waited on by Christians.
to them, apostleship was something that they could lord over others – to Paul, strength was to be used for service, not status.
v26-27: this reads like a series of exemptions in the Hague-Visby Rules (LOL) – but that was Paul’s joy.
to be in danger, in prison, without sleep, cold and hungry.. not that hardship for its own sake is to be rejoiced in, but that if hardship meant that the Gospel could be shared, Paul considered it pure joy, and the Gospel of surpassing worth.
(2 Cor 4:17-18 makes this even clearer)
to the false apostles, this was insane. they found a hard life as a sign that God was not with them, weakness and persecution as something to be pitied – Paul was a loser to them.
v29-30: perhaps this bit is best reproduced
“who is weak, and i do not feel weak? who is led into sin, and i do not inwardly burn?
if i must boast, i will boast of the things that show my weakness”
Lord.. that i would have such empathy and compassion. That i would delight so freely in my myriad failings, that each success of mine would be so clearly Yours and Your goodness working through an earthen vessel like myself.
so help me to resist daily the call to be marvellous, to be excellent, to have great superficial comfort, if that comes at the cost of giving to those in need, to serving and loving those who do not yet know You Lord.
so help me to not be selfish, to be arrogant, to be conceited and eager to boast… let my boast be that Christ died for me, and that in His love i gladly give of myself and endure whatever may come, that His love may be known.
i am terribly weak Lord. will You be gracious to me.