Humility is not a characteristic that our world esteems. Part of the reason for that, I think, is that humility is somewhat hard to recognize. If someone were truly humble, would they leave an impression, or would you walk away from a conversation thinking more about Jesus?
2 Corinthians 10 paints a great picture of true humility. When writing letters while absent, Paul had to boldly cut to the chase because paper was expensive, among other possible reasons. You can imagine, also, that when the Christian community received a letter from an apostle, it was immediately venerated and its fame in the region spread quickly. Then, like meeting any celebrity, when Paul shows up people remember he’s just a guy—“his personal presence is
Paul had authority over the church at Corinth (8), his writings bore this out; but when in their presence, Paul didn’t not abuse his power, he approached the church with “meekness and gentleness” (1). It seems that because Paul did not arrive with the pomp and circumstance of earthly authorities and rulers, some rejected his authority. These people were fooled by
measuring and comparing themselves with their own selves (12), instead of by the true standard of Christ. Looking into a mirror, you may think you’re pretty great as these men had done, but be warned. “It is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends” (18).
The Lord calls all of us to humility. However, God has also placed all of us in positions of authority. Although Paul was incredibly humble, his God-given authority, especially in his writings, required boldness. These two characteristics are not mutually exclusive. Paul’s bold authority was never directed at self or personal gain, but only to magnify Christ—that’s humility—power and authority while deflecting and reorienting praise.
In what areas of your life do you have God-given authority? Is your authority used to elevate Christ or yourself? What does it look like to balance your personal authority with humility?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate