For some say, “Don’t worry about Paul. His letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are really bad!” - 2 Corinthians 10:10
Paul had heard what some in the church at Corinth were saying about him. It’s hard when you are criticized unkindly—it can make you feel awful about yourself. Paul’s healthy self-image shows us how to let God hold us up when others put us down.
Paul realized he was being evaluated by people who were just comparing themselves with others. Each of us has a proper sphere of service, determined by the limits God sets (2 Corinthians 10:13). Each is placed in the kingdom and gifted for kingdom work by God. Paul didn’t worry about being compared to others—he just wanted to make sure he fit God’s plan. Paul measured himself by God’s commendation. He may not have been a trained speaker, but he knew what he was talking about. Paul’s overriding compulsion was to teach the truth in every way possible. Whether he did it better or worse than someone else did not deter his plans, and it should not deter us either.
We need to get a handle on the things we do best and learn to live with the things we do less well in areas where we are less gifted. But we shouldn’t let other people’s evaluation of our personality, gifts, or service be overplayed in our lives. Our gifts, calling, and personal boundaries are set by God alone. Believers should be happy with God’s boundaries and glad to operate within them. A healthy spiritual self-image gives us freedom to work for Christ, whatever we hear them saying about us!
For Further Study: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.