June 11, 2021

Are You Fighting with the Correct Weapons?

2 Corinthians 10–13

8 Comments | Listen | Print | Full Chapter

Paul Defends His Ministry

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you...

Paul Defends His Ministry

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 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, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. 17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Paul and the False Apostles

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle

16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would 1 but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, 2 in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

Paul's Visions and His Thorn

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, 3 a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

Final Warnings

This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them— since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

Final Greetings

11 Finally, brothers, 4 rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, 5 agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Footnotes

[1] 11:17 Greek not according to the Lord
[2] 11:27 Or often in fasting
[3] 12:7 Or hears from me, even because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited
[4] 13:11 Or brothers and sisters
[5] 13:11 Or listen to my appeal

Are You Fighting with the Correct Weapons?



Key Verse | 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Bio | DeAndre Williams

Hi! My name is De'Andre, and I have a new life in Christ! 

I have been a member of Watermark officially since 2018, and I serve at Watermark's recovery ministry re:generation and love it! 

I will be celebrating three years of marriage to my beautiful wife Sarah in October. 

I love the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, and playing basketball when I can. 

I am in need of God's grace every day, and I am excited to walk through 2 Corinthians with you guys today!

Central Truth

Our war is not against flesh and blood but against evil spirits, so we must fight evil spirits with the Holy Spirit.

Devotional | 2 Corinthians 10–13

Have you ever had a struggle that you felt was impossible to get over? Have you tried everything in your own strength to get over that struggle and still eventually fell short? Well, I have, and many of the people...

Have you ever had a struggle that you felt was impossible to get over? Have you tried everything in your own strength to get over that struggle and still eventually fell short? Well, I have, and many of the people that I see on Monday nights at re:generation (Watermark's recovery ministry) have been in this same boat, as well. My struggles or strongholds are in the form of gluttony of food and pornography. I tried for years to manage these things on my own, but I would fail every time.

I started my journey of discovering the power that we have in Christ on May 1, 2016. That is the day that I was baptized as an adult, and I really believe that my eyes were open to what Acts 2:38 means by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. I felt a new power over my struggles that I hadn't experienced ever before in my life, and that was because I began speaking directly to my temptation from a new perspective. Instead of just trying not to give in to those struggles, I was beginning to turn to Scripture, and eventually others, for help.

That is why 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 is so important. Paul is taking the time in this passage to remind the Corinthian church, and us, about the power that we have in Christ. Notice that I said the power that we have in Christ. I tried so long with my own power, but the truth is, I don't have any real power against any temptation in my flesh. Galatians 5:16-24 speaks about the power that Paul is addressing in 2 Corinthians. Now when I am tempted, I know that I can confess that temptation to my community group so that they can be praying for me.

One of the major things that I have learned from being around Watermark is how important it is to kill sin at the thought level, and that is what Paul is alluding to in this section of Scripture.

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. What are some strongholds in your life that you want to get rid of? Have you confessed them to someone else?

2. Do you realize that the Holy Spirit whom God left for those who trust in Christ as their Savior is the same Holy Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11)? How does that give you confidence?

3. Is there someone you can think of who needs reminding of the hope that we have against our enemy's attacks?

 

8 Comments available

Linda Green 3 days ago

Powerful, DeAndre- thank you for sharing your story and pointing us to the Holy Spirit! Loved your question #2- have read that verse many times but I don’t live that way. Lots of times I ignore His gentle voice and forget about His power.

Love this verse about the Holy Spirit when I have no idea how to pray for a friend or a situation- Romans 8:26.

Shawn Foster 3 days ago

Wonderful truths and devotional DeAndre! We all stumble in many ways, yet to recognize that the Holy Spirit gives resurrection power is mind blowing. What a gift! So instead of feeding the flesh, we feed on God’s faithfulness. Fully convinced that his will is good, pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2. Thank you for serving and leading by example. Hope you have a great day of worship. Let’s go!

Sue Bohlin 3 days ago

Powerful devo, DeAndre, thank you!

We’re in Memphis for a family wedding for which I get to do the reading about love from 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve been thinking about the similarities between the church at Corinth and our own culture, and how much they, and we, need God’s perspective. So that was my mindset when I read 2 Cor. 12:21-"…many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure." Holy smokes, if this isn’t a description of so much of the American church in 2021 . . .!!! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Greg Jones 3 days ago

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

That is a pretty profound statement when I let it sink in. Yesterday’s reading has Paul taking scripture from Ezekiel that tells him, as a Jew, specifically to separate himself from those around him. Paul, using the knowledge God, uses that verse to explain his relationship to Corinthians.

When Ezekiel says to come out and separate yourself from them and the fruit of that knowledge is approving creating martyrs like Stephen, Paul un-yokes himself from the use of that verse as cover for exclusion of deserters. Agree with this interpretation or face expulsion, or something worse, up to death. Knowledge of scripture produced that fruit in Paul at one time. Knowledge of the God, in, scripture produces Galatians5:22-23, and that has the Devine power to destroy strongholds, says Paul.

Hugh Stephenson 3 days ago

2 of 2

Awhile back in Prodigal we were talking to a lady about the truth of God. She kept asking for proof.

Finally, one friend leaned forward. With tears streaming down his face, he told his story; heroin addiction, prison terms, violence, theft, destroyed relationships and all manner of horrific choices.

Then, summarizing how trusting Jesus turned his life around, he said, “I’m your proof”.

He is mine too. As is Paul. As are countless friends whose wrecked life was ended and a new life begun when they surrendered to the risen Jesus.

Hugh Stephenson 3 days ago

1 of 2

GM DeAndre! Love your Central Truth. Increasingly, I am aware of the reality of the spirit world and the battle in which we are engaged; (Ephesians 6:10-20).

Today I’m reflecting on Paul’s Visions and thorn in 12:1-10.

This amazing passage has been an inspiration to me for years. In reading Acts and these letters, I am struck at the degree and intensity of persecution Paul suffers. Yet, it seems his energy and zeal never falter.

Years ago, I was in a class on evangelism. In a later conversation the teacher gave me this simple approach; tell your own story and boast gladly in your weakness(es).

That single lesson has been a source of immense joy as I have been able to connect with many people who did not know who Jesus really is – and who responded to hearing a story rather than a Bible-verse-drive-by-shooting.

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

Believers are temples of the Holy Spirit and if there is even a place where the Shekinah glory in the temple rests it would be resting on our weaknesses, like it rested above the tabernacle above the ark.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

Paul suffered a lot.

"Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; "

I think we only have one of the stories

View More Comments

Download The App

  • Jointhejourney app store
  • Jointhejourney play store