Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
Observation: Paul defends himself to the Corinthians, showing them that he’s not acting from selfish, human motives but rather godly motives. He addresses some of the false teachers who had come into the region and tried to claim authority for themselves rather than the Good News. He finished by reminding the people never to boast about themselves but rather allow the Lord to commend them.
Application: Authority brings power.
But, not all power is created equally.
Worldly power can dissolve in an instant – a president gets impeached, a government overthrown, a baseball player caught up in a doping scandal, a professor fired for plagiarizing, a bank teller caught stealing, a popular kid found hazing. The power we worked hard to cultivate can be gone in an instant; all it takes is one bad decision, one misstep, and everything shifts.
Power is intoxicating, and it’s fragile. We often obsess over it; if we don’t have the power we’re hoping for, we obsess over chasing after it. If we finally get the power we’ve been chasing, we obsess over protecting it. What we thought would give us freedom instead enslaves us.
But, there is a power that gives us freedom, a power that’s steady, a power that doesn’t leave us constantly wanting more. It’s the power of Christ Jesus living in us, guiding us, and filling us with true authority. The power of Jesus empowers us rather than enslaves us. It sets us apart.
Here’s how Paul puts it:
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (verses 3-5)
Paul’s saying: I’m not here on my accord and my own authority. In fact, I know my own authority is pretty useless. Instead, I’m here under the authority of my Lord Jesus Christ, and I will prevail because of him. He has set me apart, filled me with his power, and given me the strength to overcome everything I face.
When we see the Lord as our ultimate authority and source of power, we see that selfish, human recognition and the pursuit of worldly power means nothing.
“When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.” (verse 18)
Jesus gives us all the power we will ever need and empowers us to face everything we will ever face. He’s our power source.
Prayer: God, fill me with the humility to know that my power and authority comes from you and you alone. I pray you’ll allow me to live empowered, willing to face any challenge or criticism that comes my way because You are with me. Amen.