ENDURE | Courage in Weakness PART XVI | Courageous Humility | 2 Corinthians 10

May 16, 2021 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: ENDURE: Courage in Weakness | 2 Corinthians

Topic: New Testament Passage: 2 Corinthians 2:10

Christopher Rich – May 16, 2021

ENDURE | Courage in Weakness 

PART XVI| Courageous Humility | 2 Corinthians 10


Introduction |What Robs us of Joy? 

Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series ENDURE: Courage in Weakness


What robs you of Joy? Where and how do you find yourself running off the rails in stress, fear, unsettledness? 

There is a war being waged for your joy on numerous fronts. Being away of Spiritual forces, comparison with others, actual opponents, even our own thoughts at times seek our defeat. Attacks can be subtle as pride seeks to overwhelm our sense of self and how we engage with others. We are weak; we need a strength beyond our ourselves to combat crippling pride with courageous humility. Addressing how pride and humility impact joy matters as we seek to make Disciples who Love God and Love People. We want individual transformation and a transformative culture in our church recognizing the two are interrelated. We are reading the transcripts of one side of a phone conversation between a pastor and the church (not a back in forth text exchange) The point of the exchange is to help address concerns with their church culture leading them both be less effective in their mission and less enjoyment in their fellowship. As we look at these verses, I want us to see what we do that robs us of joy so we can repent and receive joy with the Lord. 


PART I | Courage to Captivate | 2 Cor 10:1-6

2 Cor 10:1-6 | 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.


#1 Get Jesus Wrong (v1) - If you get Jesus wrong you get everything else wrong. We easily Forget the Character and Nature of Christ- Jesus has victoriously conquered sin and death, yet as Paul begins to appeal to the Corinthians to address their own pride, he draws their attention to the “meekness and gentleness of Christ”. This seems counterintuitive, especially considering the Corinthian values and how they played out in the church. They like the power of Jesus more than the person of Jesus. There is much to know about Jesus, God the Son. Jesus is roaring lion of Judah, King of King, who powerfully holds the universe together by the sheer power of His will. He is the one who has conquered death, who brings righteousness and justice (with judgment) AND He is the suffering servant who was pierced for our transgressions and sin. He is the one who came “without form or majesty that we should regard him and in humility was despised and rejected by men.” To know the Jesus who knows you in all your imperfection and still sacrifices for you and makes you new is to know the Jesus whose heart is “gentle and lowly” towards His people. We mistake gentleness for weakness, when gentleness is not a lack of strength but rather power under control and marshaled for a purpose. Jesus is slow to anger but he is not without conviction and clarity. Jesus is gentle and patient not quick and vindictive. God engages us delicately with patience rather than destroy with carelessness or callousness. We have joy when we remember the holistic character of God perfectly embodied in Jesus Christ. 

#2 Don’t be Holistic (v2-3) – Keep believing each part of your life doesn’t have an impact on other parts of it. Paul is charged by the Corinthians of “walking in the flesh” as opposed to “living in the Spirit.” Flesh isn’t always evil because we are embodied souls. We are mind, body, and soul. Our attitudes impact our action and our action impact our attitudes. We live real tangible lives which our interconnected so our souls impact our bodies in inform our minds, etc. When we are not holistic in how we see ourselves we neglect opportunities for growth and healing, hindering our flourishing and joy. We have Joy when we understand how we’re made.


# 3 Only Focus on your External Life (v3-4)- Neglect your inner life. We don’t have Joy because we choose the wrong battlefield to fight for it. We focus an all the things in the world including a lot that we are powerless to even impact thinking if they were different we would be different. Just fix my circumstances and that will bring me contentment. Fix your heart and it will change and give you contentment IN your circumstances. Joy and flourishing are worth fighting. God is greatly powerful and brings peace as our eyes and heart are set on him. Our inner life matters. To neglect our inner life is to neglect where the true transformation takes place. We have joy when we live inside out with divine power breaking barriers to joy. 


# 4 Let Your Thoughts Hold you Captive (v5-6) – Don’t think about what you think about. Do you think about, what you think about? We easily let thought captivate us rather than us holding all our thoughts captive. When have your thoughts captivated you?  You know what this is like. A thought comes in your head and it leads you down a doom spiral of worry and anxiety, or self-righteous, or entitlement. You are not responsible for every thought you have but you are accountable for how you respond to each thought. Do you receive it and entertain it? Do you detain it and reject it? What is the outworking of each thought? We can change the channel, skip ahead, scroll past, what is playing in our head/heart. The battle of enduring humility and holiness begins in our own mind. We are not consumed by every thought which enters our consciousness, but we hold every thought captive to obey Christ. What does it mean to “take every thought captive”? The Holy Spirit can give us the power and perspective to actually evaluate our heart and test our thoughts and respond to them accordingly. This is called “self-control” This also can happen in community as we discuss what we think with others. When there are scripts in your head play over that are leading you to despair, ask yourself, “Is this true?” “Where did this come from?” “What happens if I act on this?” This takes courage to captive each thought because it is so easy be passive. We have joy when we experience victory in the battle of the mind. 


PART II |Humility not Humiliation | 2 Corinthians 10:7-11

2 Cor 10:7-11 | 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. 


#5 Believe You are Better than You Are (v7)- or at least better than others. Humility is not humiliation. We are equal in the eyes of the Lord! In Christ, we are both Known by God and owned by God. Our Identity isn’t in achievements but in what has been achieved for us in Christ. Yes, you are unique and made in the image of God, you have great value. We have joy when we remember others are also known and loved by God.   


#7 Forget the purpose of Leadership and Authority (v8)- Tear others down to build yourself up, rather than use power and influence to build up others. Leadership and authority can easily lead to domineering, prideful, or self-serving. From Government to Little League leadership that exists for it’s own sake it is destructive to the people it’s meant to serve and leaves the leader constantly unsatisfied. The answer for bad leadership is not no leadership but rather humble servant leadership which builds up those around them. Leadership (influence, authority) can be God given rather than man striven. What is your motivation for leadership, influence, etc? When God gives leadership or influence it is for a purpose to build others up. When we selfishly seek leadership, it leads to others being torn down. Watch Last Chance U Coaches who are verbally abusive and all about their own ego and success verse the coaches who care about the team, individual development, listening (still leading) but what does it take to get the best out of each player that helps them win and by extension the team. One had success for a little while, the other had a long period of enduring success both on and off the field. Humiliation serves no one, but humble leaders help combat pride and find confidence in Christ. Your words as a leader have more weight for those under your leadership or in your care. We are all leaders of self, family, others. The greater influence you have in someone’s life the greater weight your words and actions have on them. We have Joy when we embody and respond to Godly, and “God given” leadership.


#8 Be Easily Impressed by Appearances (v9-10) – Be dismissive of depth, don’t look below the surface. The Corinthians were easily impressed with what was easily seen as impressive. Like us, they respond to what they see on the surface. Compared to some others Paul don’t “look the part” in their eyes. You’re not that impressive we’re not impressed. Because he’s not domineering, they are dismissive of his leadership rather than responsive to it. They think they have all the answers and if they’re going to follow at all it because they are super impressive in their own eyes. We want to identify with our leaders, so we seek who is most impressive. Godly leaders aren’t seeking to be impressive but to impress upon people the greatness of Jesus. Not growing their kingdom but calling people to engage in the ever-expanding Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. We have Joy when we seek depth, substance, and endurance over shallow style and speed.

# 9 Lack Integrity (v11)- We don’t have joy because we lack integrity. That doesn’t always mean a lack of honesty or lying (though trust matters). Integrity is being the same person all the time. The world might say “be true to yourself” In marketing it’s call staying “on brand”. Differentiated from those around you and consistent in your character. It does mean we don’t change and grow but it does mean we are reliable and trust worthy. Paul is saying I am the same in both mediums (in person/letters). I am leading with gentle boldness and humble confidence so that means times of stark clarity and times of sympathy and compassion. We have Joy when we walk in integrity as the individual God has made (is making) us to be, in Christ’s Image.


PART III |Weak Comparison | 2 Cor 10:12-18

2 Cor 10:12-18 | 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.


"The fastest way to kill something special is to compare it to something else." – Craig Groeschel

#10 Constantly Compare Yourself to Others - Comparison is the thief of joy. When have you ever compared yourself to others and had it lead to great life giving joy? Comparison can only lead to two conclusions neither of which is positive. It will either lead to pride because when you compare yourself (usually with your own measurements) to others the comparisons is favorable so you think you’re crushing it. Or you’ll look at what someone else has or has achieved and you’ll look at what you have and find it lacking leading to dissatisfaction and eventually are crushed with despair. Social media (Instagram) robs of this most and best in it’s endless capacity to give us opportunities to compare or covet. There is a reason God said we should not covet (desire our neighbors life, etc) it isn’t because he’s going to punish us if we do. It’s is because coveting is it’s own punishment robing us of satisfaction and contentment with what we have and have done. Paul does contrast himself with leaders who are constantly focused on commending themselves (YouTube CEO was award the “Free Expression” award sponsored by… YouTube) That is Pride. He says when they are comparing and measuring themselves with themselves, they have no idea what they are doing. (Literally not wise) They do not comprehend the damage they are doing to their own souls.  Lofty and cocky don’t compare to humble yet confident. Embracing contentment isn’t settled for “less than life” or never striving. We are not complacent, but we seek joy in the journey. We have Joy when we reject comparison and receive contentment.

#11 Reject Your Limits – Be continually discontent. Limits from God for our Joy – We are finite people and God knows that so we are limited in both our abilities and responsibilities. When we compare and covet what we are saying to God is I don’t like where you have me or what you’ve given me. God don’t you know I deserve more, or I should have more influence. Instead God in His wisdom has given us limits in our influenced and effectiveness so we have a posture of humble reliance and reverence. We have limits and others have limits. The more we understand our own limits the more respect we’ll have for others with their limits leading us to a more empathic heart, settled soul and compassionate culture. Know your role, stay in your lane are all about recognizing. To answer what are some of your limits, start to asking yourself “Where has God placed you? Who has God put in your life? What responsibilities are yours to carry and what are those which should be set down?” The less power or influence we have or a situation or issue the more angst we have about it the more it can and does rob us of Joy because we feel out of control. We forget God is in control. We have Joy the more we focus on what God has given us to do and our lives become more settled and sustainable. 

#12 Seek Approval from the wrong Source – Or pursuing the wrong standard. When we are constantly seeking the approval of others, we will find ourselves on an unending treadmill of others expectation of us. When we rely on ourselves as our own standard we will never be curious about how our actions impact other people and find ourselves suffering consequences for it. When we know we have the approval Lord in Jesus we can enjoy unending rest for our weary souls. Choosing the wrong standard – God is to be our standard. Jesus is our example. When you are your standard of excellence and flourishing then you will always be crushing it. When others are your standard of excellence you will always be crushed. When Christ is your standard you will be convicted of sin/pride. When Christ is your savior who was crushed for you, you will be content and commended in the eyes of the Lord. Commending ourselves will leave us empty. Joy is found in knowing and understanding our limits as gifts from God. We can have great confidence in our approval when our boast is in the Lord who has granted us enduring commendation rather than eternal condemnation.

Courageous Humility leads us to enduring Joy. To pursue joy; Remember Jesus, Be whole, Focus on internal life, remember who you are and whose you are, display humility in leadership, seek depth, be yourself, be content, embrace your limits as you embark on the limitless mission of God. Stop seeking the empty approval of man and rest enjoying the approval of the enteral God. Receive commendation when you Trust Jesus.