Todays readings .. 2 Kings 13, Ezekiel 3, 2 Corinthians 10&11
Paul’s 10th chapter of his 2nd letter to the Corinthians starts with an impassioned appeal to them. His appeal challenges us to consider the extent to which we (& others) are influenced by the way people try to influence others to accept and believe what they are saying!
Let us ponder the way we (& others) try to influence other people to believe us! The worst example is probably seen in the arguments in Parliament! But, within religious circles, over the years, we see a multitude of examples! How little “meekness” was shown! How many different churches! Now let us look at the way Paul appeals to the believers in Corinth.
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ….” Paul proceeds to appeal to them to see how “we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” [v.5] . This is far more than – considering – what he said!
Paul was successful in the approach of “meekness and gentleness” so that in that generation (and at least one or two following) Paul’s approach resulted in many of the idol worshipers having a total change of heart! This is more that acquiring an ‘academic’ belief.
Would that we had a Paul among us today! Look at the reaction he caused among the Thessalonians! We read at the end of the 1st chapter of his first letter to them – of “the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Paul’s approach, together with other Apostles, resulted in the ancient world accepting and practicing “the meekness … of Christ.” Can we see any of that approach today? Paul’s aim was to get them to “obey Christ.” That obedience results in “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” being seen in us: food for our deep and careful thought today! This is the next vital stage beyond our saying ‘I believe …”!