2 Corinthians 10 (NIV)
Paul’s Defense of His Ministry
10 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present. 12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, “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.
From Paul’s example here, what is supposed to be the ‘normal’ way Christians exercise leadership over one another?
Holy Father, You gave us the church to be the universal and spiritual body of believers. People with different backgrounds and talents come together to learn Your Word and to do Your work. As Your church, we represent and reflect Your love to the world. As Your people, we share Your message of salvation to all. As the family of God, we invite and welcome others who are seeking to find You. How we interact with each other is more critical now than ever before. Lord, please take away every bit of pride that could keep anyone from knowing You. Help us to be gentle, compassionate, and sensitive to the needs of others by taking the time to listen to them. Allow us to be humble and share the gentleness of Christ. Let us strive to be obedient to Your Word in all that we do and hold each other accountable while remaining conscious of imperfections and the frailties of each other. Open our hearts and minds to be loving to all and not judge by appearances. Keep us from being threatened by the gifts or successes of any other Christian, but support and celebrate them. We are all on the same side. Let us bind together to help, love, and encourage one another as we fight the spiritual battle together. As the world becomes more hostile to You, give us the strength to lead and encourage each other, not with timidity and fear but to stand strong together in Your Spirit and Worship boldly. Let Your church be the place of refuge, strength, and fellowship where we support each other through the storms of this life. Give us the boldness to fight for faith and help each other to be secure in Your faithfulness. Do not allow us to do anything that distracts others from knowing You. Let us be diligent in teaching, preaching, and sharing Your Gospel of love to all. Amen