September 26, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (2 Corinthians 11)

Submitted by Becky F. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

2 Corinthians 11:19-21

“In yet another statement of biting irony, even sarcasm, Paul therefore admits to the ‘shame’ he feels over being too ‘weak’ to act like his opponents (11:21a; cf. the earlier reference to his physical weakness in 10:10). His ‘weakness’ is the strength of his apostolic calling and character; his opponents’ supposed ‘strength’ reveals the weakness of their claims and the sinfulness of their attitudes and actions.” [Hafemann, Scott J. “2 Corinthians 11:1 – 33” In NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 2 Corinthians. 421-456. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 2000.]

  • Why would the Corinthians have responded favorably to these false apostles who were boastful, oppressive, “[put] on airs,” and “[struck them] in the face?” 

The Corinthians probably responded favorably to these false apostles because they were “expensive” and impressive in worldly terms.  They held themselves out with bold confidence, acted like they were so important and higher than others including the Corinthians.  The Corinthians, being worldly in their values and insecure, were fooled by this.  They were like little children, or even teenagers and sadly adults too, who are impressed by outward appearances of being impressive, when someone is snobby, dresses well, holds himself or herself out as above others.  The Corinthians were not used to the kind of free love that Apostle Paul gave so generously, foolishly assuming that because he gave it so freely and generously, his time, energy, attention, emotions, that it was not so valuable.  It is like the foolish way as children and teenagers we often devalue the rich and overflowing love of our parents which comes at no cost to us and is even urged upon us, and instead chase and long after the attention and fickle approval of friends and classmates, popularity and romance, instead.

  • Think about the notions of “strength” and “weakness” as it played out between the Corinthians and Apostle Paul.  What is the biblical view of strength?

The Corinthians thought that strength was powering up over people and exercising control over them.  They thought that being strong was what the false apostles did–making slaves of them, taking advantage of them, putting on airs and abusing them, looking down on them.  They saw Apostle Paul as weak for not exercising authority over others to his own advantage and pride.  On top of that, they found strength in title, status, background, credential by birth.  They held onto a worldly view of strength and loathing of weakness.  But Apostle Paul found his credentials as a servant of Christ not in his title and background, but in his sufferings and weaknesses he faced for the sake of Christ—in imprisonment, beatings, persecution, on top of the sleepless nights and worried heart he had over the believers in the churches.  What the world and the Corinthians valued, this so-called strength and avoiding sufferings and being weak, contrasted so much with the life and testimony of Apostle Paul, who took on weakness and suffering for Christ and boasted in the things that showed his weakness.  As Apostle Paul demonstrated, the biblical view of strength is taking on weakness in love, for the sake of others.   It is taking on limitation, suffering, sacrifice, out of desire to obey and honor Christ, which is being weak in the world’s eyes.

  • When I interact with others, which attitude do I have—the one of Apostle Paul, or the one of the false teachers?

When I think about it, I agree with the attitude of Apostle Paul, that I should and want to take on limitation for the sake of Christ, to obey Him and love others.  But when it plays out, my emotions betray how often I have the attitude of the false teachers, who hated weakness and wanted to be impressive, strong, not vulnerable, not lower themselves to care for others really.  I see this is how I want to be strong in the worldly sense, in being on top of things, competent, wise, “doing the right thing,” and hate being weak in not being able to get things done, do things right, say the right thing, as well as in subjecting myself to the fickleness and carelessness of others I try to love, who are clueless or careless to the time, energy, prayer, emotion, thought, I put into trying to help them, crying out for them, etc.  I see what a worldly attitude I have when I am hurt or offended so easily by their rejection or misunderstanding or coolness, subjected myself to caring about them and my pride recoils, thinking who needs this, why should I as a mother of two who has many other things to do and be interested in, lower myself to try to get to know and face coolness, awkwardness, rejection, from college students?  I see too my worldly attitude in wanting to be strong and right, to not make mistakes, to not mess up or face difficulty, misunderstanding, rejection, a bumpy road.  All of these things, my own weakness and brokenness as well as helplessness against a lot of the unfair criticism and rejection of others for the sake of Christ, according to Apostle Paul are actually things to boast of as a servant of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30

  • Reflect on all the ways in which Apostle Paul suffered in carrying out his ministry.

Apostle Paul suffered so much in carrying out his ministry—physically, emotionally, mentally.  In all things he suffered, from both strangers and unfair distant mockers and slanderers, as well as those close to him, fellow brothers betraying him.  He underwent such physical suffering, from being beaten and imprisoned to being shipwrecked and hungry and thirsty and sleepless.  On top of that, Apostle Paul underwent the suffering of being burden over the believers in the churches, feeling their weakness, crying out for them, warning them, confronting them, encouraging them, taking on the roller coaster of what it means to love someone and subject oneself to all the ups and downs of a person’s heart and life in general.  On every level, Apostle Paul suffered in carrying out the duties of his ministry with all his heart.

  • What might be the relationship between Apostle Paul’s amazing ability to endure hardships and what he says in vv. 28-29?

Apostle Paul’s amazing ability to endure hardships might be related to his heart expressed in these verses.  He loved and identified so much with the believers that he could not let them down, could not give up.  His love for them resulted in perseverance through hardships and persecution because he knew that he affected his fellow brothers and sisters so profoundly, as an example, their spiritual leader, and just part of the body of Christ.  He might have been able to continue on through such dramatic frequent persecution and temptation to despair because he knew he would send ripple effects throughout the body of Christ and beyond.

  • How does Apostle Paul’s description of his “daily pressure” challenge a more idyllic notion of Christian life?

Apostle Paul’s description of his daily pressure of his anxiety for all the churches blows out of the water a more idyllic notion of Christian life.  Apostle Paul, such a godly man and passionate servant of Christ, awesome missionary, forefather to us all, led this kind of life, where he felt daily anxious, burdened, for all the churches.  Of all people, he was so spiritual and godly, such a earnest and amazing man, yet even he felt this incredible burden of pressure daily for the believers of all the churches.  His heart ached, worried, feared for, the believers.  He was anything but smug and complacent or emotionally comfortable.

This is actually encouraging to me, that my picture of Christian life as supposed to be neat, tidy, together, feeling on top of things and strong and with it, competent, having all the right answers, not moved or shaken up by the ups and downs of life and other people, is not a realistic or biblical view of Christian life.  Even Apostle Paul felt this kind of daily pressure and anxiety in concern for his fellow believers, his brothers and sisters in Christ.  He suffered so much for Christ, was close to Him, yet his life was not the smooth, comfortable image I have of Christian life in how it’s “supposed to be.”  So really my aim and measure and evaluation of Christian life, life with God, should not be how smooth, strong, competent, I am.  It really isn’t meant to be smooth sailing as I stubbornly keep thinking, because we are broken sinners living in a broken, sinful world.  So that I am not together, don’t feel like I’m on top of things, often feel like I’m running around bumbling around and messing things up everywhere I go, don’t have it together, don’t have this sense of just being confident and calm, feel burdened and worried over people, go through ups and downs with myself and with other people, doesn’t necessarily mean that I am doing life with God wrong.  Christian life is a life of following after God and relating with Him along the way, and this demands loving people because He loves and treasures and longs for people so much.  That means actually I should not feel so smug and confident and unmoved, immune from pain and hurt and worry.  In fact, in many ways, Christian life is meant to intensify the kind of heart including pain and burdens I feel for others instead of living a selfish, utterly self-absorbed life.

  • What does Apostle Paul’s identification with the members of his churches tell me about the nature of love? 

Apostle Paul’s identification with the members of his churches shows me that the nature of love is to be with.  Just as God showed the incredible extent of His love for us by sending His Son Jesus, Emmanuel, to come be with us, Apostle Paul also models what true love is in his life and heart of identifying so much with the members of his churches, that even when they are facing sin and temptation and stumbling, he is so affected.  This tells me that really loving someone means being so much with them that their pain, as well as their joy and struggles, become my own as well, as I go through them together with her.  It means that loving a person means refusing to protect myself and keep myself at a “safe” distance, preserving my emotional comfort by not wanting to get into messy details.  Love is identifying with people in their pain and weakness (as well as joys and triumphs), tearing down the wall of separation I automatically place between others and me, to limit my liability for pain and disturbance.  It means saying there is no wall, that what affects her affects me.

Submitted by Joe H.  from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

2 Corinthians 11:19-21

  • Why would the Corinthians have responded favorably to these false apostles who were boastful, oppressive, “[put] on airs,” and “[struck them] in the face?”
  • Think about the notions of “strength” and “weakness” as it played out between the Corinthians and Apostle Paul.  What is the biblical view of strength?
  • When I interact with others, which attitude do I have—the one of Apostle Paul, or the one of the false teachers?

The Corinthians responded favorably to these false apostles because they thought that they were strong and powerful apostles. Their idea of what was strong and what was weak was still very worldly. Earlier they also talk about how they thought that Paul was a weak speaker in person. He was probably not as ‘impressive’ an orator as some of the traveling orators of the day. In this passage, it talks about how Paul did not charge them money. But they were probably more impressed by the false apostles who did charge them money. Perhaps it’s one of those things where because the false apostles are more expensive, they felt like they must be worth more.

So what did they consider strong, and what did they consider weak? This passage reminds me of the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs. He is certainly an “impressive” man. He changed several different industries over the course of several decades and eventually led his company to be the largest public company in the world. And because of this, so many people admired him and allowed him to treat them in ridiculous ways. He would often yell and scream during meetings, berating people for their work, firing people on a whim. He usually didn’t care about others’ ideas unless it coincided with his own. Indeed, he was boastful, oppressive, put on airs and struck people with many verbal barbs. But still people considered him such a great man because of what they considered to be strong. He was in a position of power, and others had to cower to him.

But what is the biblical view of strength? Apostle Paul presents such a different picture. He often seems like he’s in a position of weakness. Throughout this whole letter, and in 1 Corinthians, he is often pleading with the Corinthians over this matter or that. He is not into making himself look “impressive” – they even accused him of having a weak presence in their midst. But it turns out that this is actually strength! One reason, which Paul talks about in chapter 12, about how God’s grace is sufficient and his power is made perfect in weakness, and therefore when Paul is weak, he is strong. But the other reason I think made more clearly in this passage is that Paul is strong because he loves. Because he makes himself vulnerable. He allows himself to be “weak”. He says in v29, “Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” Paul let the Corinthians affect him so profoundly that he passed up an opportunity to evangelize in Troas because he was so anxious about how they would respond. And yet in this weakness, he was able to have the strength to do all those other things that he talks about before he gets to v29. He was able to have the strength to endure labors, imprisonments, beatings, being lashed and stoned, and shipwrecked and on and on.

So what is my own view of “strength” and “weakness”? When I think about myself as a Christian and even as a staff member, how do I evaluate myself? I often use “strengths” to evaluate how I am doing. Did I get a lot done? Am I a competent person in this way or that? Have I been given more and more responsibilities? Do people respect me? Have I had victory in my battle with sin? These are the types of questions I use, and it gives a window into what I think is important, or what makes me “strong” Christian. I view Christianity as another arena in which I need to achieve and do well in. I put the focus on me, and how much I can or cannot do.

But once again, Apostle Paul tells me something very different. The kinds of questions I should be asking myself are: Am I feeling weak because of someone else’s weakness or sin? Do I even know other people’s sins and am I grieving over them? Have I suffered on someone else’s behalf, or for the gospel? Have I tried to become less and draw less attention to myself, so that instead Christ can be revealed? Do I daily feel the pressure of anxiety because of people I love, and because of the people in my church? These are the questions that I need to ask myself because this is true strength. It is the strength of loving others, and becoming vulnerable. And that’s what Christ did on the cross. He came down in human likeness, and made himself like a servant rather than one who was to be served. And then he suffered and died on the cross for us. And in doing so, he defeated sin and death, and opened up the path for us to have eternal life.

Submitted by Sheri C. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

  • Why would the Corinthians have responded favorably to these false apostles who were boastful, oppressive, “[put] on airs,” and “[struck them] in the face?” 

These false apostles treated the Corinthians in the following ways: they treated the Corinthians as slaves, devouring and taking advantage of them, putting on airs, and striking them in the face. Instinctively, their conduct should have elicited a sense of problem, or led to questioning where their “authority” came from. However, the Corinthians actually responded favorably –or at least with tolerance- to these false apostles who treated them this way. They must have somehow associated such behavior with spiritual superiority and strength, as though the false apostles had such authority and presence that they were justified to do what they were doing. The Corinthians were probably impressed by the false apostles’ boasting. They boasted about their spiritual lineage, laying claim to the fact that they were Hebrews, Israelites, the offspring of Abraham. The probably sounded pretty legitimate.

  • Think about the notions of “strength” and “weakness” as it played out between the Corinthians and Apostle Paul.  What is the biblical view of strength?

When it came down to it, what the Corinthians seemed to value as “strength” in the false apostles was how they used their self-commended authority to do whatever they wanted, and they were pretty successful. They seemed strong because things were going well for them: they spoke with eloquence, they were well received by people, they were receiving money for their preaching, and they had their spiritual lineage in which they could take pride and boast. In contrast, in the Corinthians’ eyes, here was Apostle Paul who couldn’t speak with the same degree of eloquence, he was preaching the gospel “free of charge” (11:7), and he had suffered much in his ministry. The Corinthians saw this and considered him weak, especially in comparison to the false apostles. It’s clear that the Corinthians had a misguided view of what was considered “strength” and “weakness”. The false apostles seemed strong and authoritative on the surface, but what is revealed is that through their ministry, they were preaching a different gospel and people were being oppressed and taken advantage of. Their character proved to fall so short, though the Corinthians did not see this because they were so caught up in the “boast[s] according to the flesh”. The fruit of Apostle Paul’s ministry, on the other hand, was that the Gentiles were being saved, churches were being planted, and people were being discipled to follow Christ. Apostle Paul had not boasted in his own qualifications until this point, and that was only to prove a point regarding the folly of placing confidence in the accomplishments of the flesh. In chapter 4 verse 7, he says that we have the treasure of the gospel in jars of clay “to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” He attributes the work of his ministry to the Lord, not to himself as a broken and sinful man. In verse 30, he says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness”. Why would he do this? Because behind the external weakness, there is something else, something deeper and worthy to boast of, and that is Christ Jesus.

  • When I interact with others, which attitude do I have—the one of Apostle Paul, or the one of the false teachers?

When I first graduated and started serving at our church, I had ungrounded confidence in myself that I had a pretty good idea of what ministry would be like. I thought that having lived in the dorms my senior year, leading a small group of some freshmen floormates, praying for them on a regular basis–I thought that the life of ministry would be pretty much that. I wanted to show my leaders that I could handle it and that I knew what I was doing. It’s laughable in retrospect, but honestly, that was my view. Of course after about a month, I realized how foolish I had been. However, that desire to prove myself still persisted. In the few years after that, in so many ways I wanted to be seen as a spiritual person, and so I would go through all sorts of hoops to maintain this image of myself. I would tell my leaders about the “good things” that I did while brushing under the rug anything that would make me look bad. With my peers, I would feel envious of one’s outgoing personality, how spiritual another one seemed, etc. If someone asked me a question, I would try to wrack my brain to think of some kind of good-sounding answer and if it was well received, then I would be proud of myself that I knew how to have these kind of fruitful conversations with my students. I didn’t seek guidance from others who were more knowledgeable or ask them very many questions because I thought that maybe they would look down on me for not knowing how to do that simple thing or what to do in a particular situation. I so much wanted to rely on my own strength and to be able to say, “I did it” and to earn people’s respect and acceptance.

As I grow older, I find that more and more, I have less confidence in myself and what I can do and boast of. I know my heart and I can more personally attest to the fact that there is nothing good in me. I know that I have been given a huge entrustment, and how vast are the far-reaching consequences of this ministry of reconciliation. Knowing that much is at stake–eternal life or death–I have grown to regard this with greater fear and trembling, and in light of this, I am much more hesitant to rely on my own sinful heart to carry out the calling. Also, as the gospel becomes sweeter and more amazing to me, the act of boasting in myself and what I can do feels like such a waste of time. This affects how I interact with others. With my leaders and peers, I can just openly share my struggles, my mistakes, my sinfulness without engaging in the tiresome mental gymnastics of wondering what they think about me. With the people I minister to, I try to minister to them using God’s word instead of trying to think of the “right answer.” This year ministry feels different in the sense that I just want to point people to the gospel–because it’s true, unchanging, and is always the right answer. That’s been my hope and prayer lately for the people I am ministering to that they would know the gospel more deeply.

 2 Corinthians 11:23-30

  • Reflect on all the ways in which Apostle Paul suffered in carrying out his ministry.

In verses 23-29, Apostle Paul lists out the spectrum of his sufferings, both physical and emotional, that he suffered and endured in his ministry. He was imprisoned, beaten to the point of near death, stoned, shipwrecked, in constant danger from Jews and Gentiles, danger from false apostles, he experienced thirst, hunger, lack of sleep, and the list goes on. And not only these physical sufferings, but he also endured the suffering of carrying the emotional burden of people ministry. He experienced anguish of heart, despair, grief, and righteous anger. He always thought about all the churches and kept people in his heart. Apostle Paul really was stretched in every capacity.

  • What might be the relationship between Apostle Paul’s amazing ability to endure hardships and what he says in vv. 28-29?

Apostle Paul experienced daily anxiety and a great sense of burden for churches. He refers to it in verse 28 as “daily pressure.”  Instead of being someone whose emotional ups and downs were dependent on the drama of his personal life, he was emotionally very affected by the spiritual state of his fellow brothers and sisters in the church. If they were weak, he felt weak; if they were engaging in sin, he felt righteous anger and indignation. He had a view of his identity as very connected with these people whom he considered his sons and daughters in the faith. I think his ability to endure hardships can be traced to this. He was very aware of who he was, his calling, and his responsibility/obligation to the churches. How could he not endure hardship for the sake of the gospel, when broken people were being led into sin? I’m sure this reality would have spurred him on to keep doing what he was doing, because spiritual battle is real.

 ·       How does Apostle Paul’s description of his “daily pressure” challenge a more idyllic notion of Christian life?

People could have an idyllic notion of Christian life, thinking that it’s just about you and God, that you just need to love God in your heart, that you don’t have to suffer all that much because God wants us to be at peace and be happy. Many Christians have this very peaceful view of Christian life. But Apostle Paul’s description of his “daily pressure” really challenges this view.   The words “daily pressure” alone might not quite capture the extent of the difficulties involved in Christian life and ministry, but given what we know about his ministry to the Corinthians thus far, we can see that it definitely was not easy.

 ·       What does Apostle Paul’s identification with the members of his churches tell me about the nature of love? 

One thing this tells me is that the nature of love is to allow oneself to be completely affected by another person or people. Apostle Paul indeed had opened wide his heart to the Corinthians because he had been so vulnerable with them–he anguished and regretted sending the severe letter, and then was overjoyed to hear of their repentance. He was not some distant leader figure who slapped them on the hand for doing something bad while maintaining his cool. This is totally contrary to the picture we get of Apostle Paul, who regularly experienced emotional heights and depths dependent upon the members of his churches. The kind of love he felt and communicated was one where he shared in their struggles and made their issues his own. Their ups and downs became his own. And it was a messy process–the Corinthians misunderstood him and judged him, he had to commend himself to them and clarify his intentions, etc. It wasn’t clean and tidy ministry that he was engaged in. Yet this too is another characteristic of love –willingness to take risks.

Personal Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your word today. I pray that rather than boasting in my own flesh and what I can do, that I could claim that you are my strength above all things. I pray that I would not have a worldly notion of what is “strong” versus what is “weak,” but please help me to have a biblical understanding of how through weakness, your strength is displayed. Lord, I also pray that I could grow into a leader like Apostle Paul who loved the members of his churches to the point where he allowed himself to be thoroughly affected by them and how they were doing. As this is just one picture of love, I pray that I too could have this kind of heart of love towards people. Amen.

Submitted by Irene H. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

2 Corinthians 11:19-21

·       Why would the Corinthians have responded favorably to these false apostles who were boastful, oppressive, “[put] on airs,” and “[struck them] in the face?” 

From a worldly perspective and from the context of their cultural background the Corinthian church must have been used to the extraordinary level of confidence and arrogance being correlated with prestige and something to be respected. These people were said to have been great orators and even to charge a fee for the people to hear them speak. There was a sense of power that came along with that…a sense that the cost would correlate with the value of what they were presenting. So, even within the church they submitted to the popular cultures beliefs and translated the boastfulness, oppressiveness, and degradation as something/someone to follow.

It seems so strange, but in many ways it isn’t unlike the drama of being a teenager, where the confident, pretty and mean girls are the ones who are looked up to and the ones who carry all the power. Their power comes from their image, and so every teenager grows up wanting to be cool or popular. The “average” kids become easily fooled by their hype and willingly play into the power dynamic and end up looking up to these “popular” girls who are often oppressive and

Now, as a 20 something year old all of that teenage drama seems so foolish, but the reality is that even at this age we play into the same culture of power. It now manifests in what kind of car you drive, what kind of spouse you have, what kind of job or promotion you are able to achieve. Basically, the variables may have shifted a bit, but the game is the same. You look up to those who have this kind of power built by their image, even to the point where you are degrading yourself, because you have bought into the values.

For the Corinthians I think they were just in awe of the images of these false prophets in how powerful they appeared to be in…their boasts of their successes, their self-promotion, their worldly charisma, and their air of being above the average citizen. They were fooled into degrading themselves, as well as being blind to the truth, because they saw the strength and power of these false prophets, and want to have the same.

 ·       Think about the notions of “strength” and “weakness” as it played out between the Corinthians and Apostle Paul.  What is the biblical view of strength?

For the Corinthians their understanding of “strength” comes from the worldly successes and influence that people are able to manage for themselves. It was a strength to have talent and to use it successful to their advantage. Weakness for the Corinthians would be not claiming all your credentials, lacking talents or skills and ultimately not being able to gain any power for yourself. So, Apostle Paul ends up naming all his credential to humor them in their pursuit to follow the “strongest candidate” no matter whether they were aligned to the truth of the gospel or not. But more so than that, Apostle Paul begins to boast of his credentials of suffering for the gospel. His credentials are not built on superfluous things, it was built on his literal sweat, blood, and tears. He allowed himself to be vulnerable, submitted himself to suffering, and in many ways the world would view this as weakness. He didn’t fend for himself and so that makes him “weak,” but it was in Paul’s submission to vulnerability out of love for the gospel that gave him the strength to endure all of these things.

The biblical view of strength is that we don’t have any within ourselves. It is actually within our weakness that God provides the strength. And this is the reality of Apostle Paul’s life, it was in his vulnerability and suffering through imprisonments, beatings, and in danger in every way that he was his weakest, but it was because of his relationship with God and the gospel that he was able to have power enough to endure and persevere through these things. The biblical view of strength is that God has all of it, and he will willing to pour it into us as we obey in our weakness.

 ·       When I interact with others, which attitude do I have—the one of Apostle Paul, or the one of the false teachers?

When I interact with others, sadly I find that I frequent am just like the false teachers. I want to look competent and put together. I want to be viewed as a hard worker who is a contributor rather than a drain. It’s sad because I feel like it manifests in even in my ministry. I am supposed to be living vulnerably and with the constant reality that I am a wretch of a sinner, but frequently I am so preoccupied with trying to do things well and not drop any balls, that I forget that greatest reality in my life.

I have times of clarity where I am driven in desperation due to the burden of my own sins or the sins of those entrusted into my care. But the reality is that the mentality of the false teachers begins to creep back in. I’ve begun to recognize the yellow flags and red flags of when my attitude is shifting. Rather than continuing in my sense of urgency and desperation I start looking around. I start becoming consumed by the gaze of others upon my life and how well I am doing this or that. I feel more anxious around leaders, because I don’t want to slip up or fall back into the same sins over and over again. It is by God’s grace that I am now more aware of my red and yellow flags indicating to me that there is something wrong with my attitude, perspective, and heart. He stops me from continuing on in the motions, and in a timely way brings his words into my life. Just like this passage clarifying to me that I’ve once again shifted back to the attitude of the false teachers, being utterly caught up in image and performance. And when I am like this I don’t last very long. I can’t endure any kind of hardships because I feel utterly drained and sapped.

Interestingly enough it is at these points of realization that God brings me back to the attitude of Apostle Paul. He calls me to see the needs of others. He shows me that I am not competent enough, I do not have power enough, I am not wise enough, and yet He provides the strength to persevere. He invites me to the privilege of ministry despite my sins and weakness, and it is in obedience that I experience his strength and his provision. It is when I open wide my heart and bare the burden of others’ sins, it is when I get rejected for the Nth time, it is when I am at a loss as to the next steps, it is in these moments when I feel like I can no longer endure that He provides the needed strength and power. And so all I can do is praise a Heavenly Father who would be willing to use a fool like me, who would bring me back to His truth each time I become a false teacher again.

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