The Apostle Paul had vicious enemies as he served the Lord.  He had no problem identifying them as enemies; it was a simple statement of fact.  There was no bitterness or anger, just a reality and a directed-means of dealing with them.

As a practice he would not compare himself with them.  Even as a temptation to measure himself in contrast with them was not something the apostle would allow himself to do.  These critics of his are diametrically opposed to Paul’s message.

These people were unwise in how they valued matters of life.  They found their deepest sense of gratification in comparing their lives with themselves.  It was narcissism at its height.  Assuming that they were the best that anyone could be, they measured themselves against themselves and concluded how great they were.  This is self-righteousness at its ludicrous level.

Boasting is the symptom of personal evaluation.  Bragging about ourselves to gain a further self-gathering of attention, does not lead to truth but fabricate a poor substitute for it.  Those who are spiritual live a completely different displayed life.

Note, however, that all boasting is not wrong.  Rather, it must follow limits.  Otherwise it distracts from what is true; that is, what God has assigned for us in this life.  People benefitting from our lives is an essential to our purpose.  Drawing attention to what God has in mind is the best course of action. 

The primary risk that Paul would take is related to making the Gospel clear and accessible to others.  Sounding the clarion call for the Gospel is Paul’s desire.  Controlled attention gathering is limited to what advances the declaration of the Good News of Jesus.

Paul had one desire and that was to see the Gospel find root and grow in the lives of those who heard it.  As their new birth experiences would grow then, he would grow with it.  Their maturity would be his signal to expand his labor and teaching for their sake.

Paul was respectful of the work of others for the advance of the Gospel.  Competition or distraction from that good work was out of the question.  This was ministry focus at its height.

Boasting had its place.  Our verbal attention-gleaning efforts would be good if they would be bragging about the Lord and what He has done.  Any selfishness is out-of-bounds.  Instead, humbly, the Lord’s commendation is the beginning and the end of ministry evaluation.

2 corinthians 10.12-18

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