Tuesday, April 12, 2011

bragging on God

"Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
2 Corinthians 10:17

A very simple principle drives Paul's view of his own ministry. God is the person who gets the attention drawn to Him for all that gets done. Paul spent time with the Corinthians. They knew him. And he was constantly defending his ministry to them in his absence from them. But he chose not to take this defense personally. Instead, he deflected the attention off himself and onto Christ.

This was humility in action (2 Corinthians 10:1). It did not by any means make Paul a weak pushover. In fact, he was filled with boldness when he reproved the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 10:2). He appealed to his authority as an apostle (2 Corinthians 10:7-9). He was a ministry adventurer when he came to Corinth preaching the gospel (2 Corinthians 10:14). Paul had a driving ministry passion with intense personal vision to take the gospel even further than it had been. He was constantly driving forward into new and dangerous territory in his ministry with a bold assurance that he was following the unique call of Christ for him (2 Corinthians 10:16). Paul was not wimping out when he deflected attention from himself. He boldly boasted in the Lord in action first, speech second.

Ministry can be a celebrity machine. And spiritual leadership is such that people hungry for Christ will inevitably be drawn to those who preach the truth and help build authentic followers of Jesus. But the issue is that human personality can get confused with the power of God to change lives. That is where Paul draws the line. He refused to let his personality be the issue. It was all about God. And the call is always for Christians to keep that thought before us, to live our lives accordingly, and to make much out of Jesus, and not any persons's gifts or personality alone... even our own.

So the simple mantra for talking about ministry successes stays the same: "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord".

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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