Paul’s Letter: A Western Reading

Paul heard about the new young preachers who had come to Corinth. They had big talk. “There’s an old parson comin’ to town. And some folks are pretty impressed by his letters. Seems he’s a big talker, well, we is too!”

Paul stopped that wagon train in its tracks. Well don’t air out the guest room and fold down the sheets just yet, folks. I’m not stopping by until we get a few things straightened out. See, I’m not aiming to ride into town and take over someone else’s work. No, I am not even going to brag about something I haven’t done. I started the work here, and I hope it will spread out from here. I have my eye on how I see God working, and I am marking you a trail straight back towards Him. I’m not living in the ways of the world. That’s not where my weapons come from:

We do live in the world. But we do not fight in the same way that the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God. These weapons can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy men’s arguments. And we destroy every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). 

This fight is not about “us” and “them”. The stand-off is between the followers of God and those who are scheming against Him. You’re followers of God, and I am, too. So that puts us on the same side. I’m not aiming to brag, but I do want to tell it straight. You’ve been listening to the yarns of those other preachers, and they’ve turned your heads. Look back to God and you’ll settle my worrying over you.

Paul’s words still ring true today. All too often, I find myself scratching off territory or wordlessly competing with other believers. And that is plumb exhausting, with tearing thoughts like cats fighting inside my head. That ain’t right as a child of God! How do I forget so fast that He created every one of us, and re-created all believers in Christ? It’s my sin nature coming out strong, and it is a fight that any of us can only win with God’s weapons. Every thought. Every day. He calls me up short as I walk to my car so I look back at the last passing thought. Some are like hidden dynamite that piles up and creates a cave-in of destruction. So He calls me to defuse the thoughts moment by moment. Praise the Lord for His patience!

God, thank You for taking me in hand and rearing me as Your child with discipline. I don’t like it any better than the next kid, but I sure appreciate what You are doing with me. When I see the dynamite of a destructive thought, I am glad that it does not get the chance to blow later. Please help me to learn to bring every thought to You without dragging my boots. Thank You for Your strength and patience, and that You are helping me every day to lasso the bad thoughts and send out a prayer! And with all the other believers, we’re on the winning team. Thank You, God, and all praise to You! Amen!

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