The absolute worst part of filling the role of a leader is having to dismiss an employee.  It is a task that expends a lot of energy, consumes gallons of soulful capital and taxes a restful sleep for days.  Nevertheless, this unpleasant task comes with the territory.

Under-performing employees have a pattern.  They justify poor performance, shift the blame quickly and have excuses for everything.  When they feel the threat of scrutiny they will react with criticism of others.

Paul felt that with the Corinthians believers.  Practicing sin without remorse, they attacked the Apostle as a distraction to their own failings.  They questioned his credentials, minimized his accomplishments and maximized his shortcomings.

In response Paul exhorted these heady believers to perform a self-examination on themselves.  He was not questioning their positional salvation but their practical sanctification.  Simply, He wondered if they even could recognize if Jesus was in their lives.  That was the simple objective of this spirituality test.

Gently, the Apostle expressed his desire that a similar objective test would prove to them that he would pass their examination.  Jesus was certainly present in his life.  He displayed his commitment to sanctification with boldness.

With humility Paul expresses his hope that these believers would live a life consistent with right living.  Should Paul’s own shortcomings be apparent, he was desirous that these faults would not cause the Corinthians to stumble on their own journey toward righteousness.

At the heart of living a sanctified life is knowing the truth, living the truth and enduring because of the truth.  Paul affirmed that his whole life and ministry was committed to this end.  He would not be inconsistent with that devotion.  Subtly yet poignantly he modestly acknowledges his own weakness while complimenting their strength.

Boldly the Apostle declares his intention to the Corinthians.  He is praying for their eventual arrival at spiritual maturity.  He is not opposing them, he is favorably disposed toward them.

This letter of 2 Corinthians was the Apostle’s objective plan to encourage the believers to police themselves.  Even though he could not yet be there among them, his desire was for them to grow.  His desire was for them to be fruitful in their spiritual walk.

Soon, he would come.  It was in his plan to be present in their lives.  When he arrived he would exercise his spiritual authority.  While that influence was legitimate and could be exercised with severity, his objective was to be encouraging.

2 cor 13.5-10

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