Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we are comforted of God. 2Corinthians 1:4
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. 1 John 2:16
PRE-AMBLE by Robert
Before I get into this introduction, I desire to explain this article is lengthy (3200 informative words) however, done in obedience to our Lord. Secondly, be aware, the material presented may appear harsh, straight forward, and judgemental. It is presented as it was revealed by the Holy Spirit. As such, there are three things which first, require defining; the first being “Ego.” The Second, EGOTISM determining the possible position it places some and where it will lead them, as well as how it works against God’s gifts. Thirdly EGOISM used to measure the first two.
The following definition of, EGO, is taken from The Merriam Webster dictionary. “the opinion that you have about yourself.” then the Holy Spirit lead me to take it one step further, knowing as humans any physical success we might achieve on a spiritual level would undoubtedly bring this thought about, “EGOTISM.”
- the feeling or belief that you are better, more important, more-talented, etc., than other people
1a: excessive use of the first person singular personal pronounb: the practice of talking about oneself too much
2: an exaggerated sense of self-importance: conceit —
- EGOISM compare egoism: a doctrine that individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action b: a doctrine that own self-interest is the valid end of all actions
“Ok,” I believe we can move forward, using the same definitions of EGO, EGOTISM, and EGOISM, knowing we will all interpret these definitions in our own terms of understanding, and discernment; however, our interpretation, will be coming from the same definition base. With that out of the way, my research brought me to (2Corinthians 10) where we find the Apostle Paul letting the Corinthians know they were walking in error. As we go further into the article, the above definitions come into play identifying the mistake and how God Handled it.
We will be introduced to ourselves through the eyes of the Apostle Paul, a God gifted, Holy Spirit filled man, who our Father placed an unidentified thorn in, keeping him humble and above his Ego, Egotism. And Egoism (Pride). This is discussed further into the article as an example for the Corinthians, but future followers.
Within this article, many truths about the walk of those functioning through Pride, led by their spiritual achievements. Believing they are above many will be identified as an error in their walks. God had a particular way of bringing them back to reality through the Apostle Paul’s testimony about God’s thorn.
OPENING PRAYER by Robert
Thank you, Father, in heaven for your knowledge of how to recognize and accept all your gifts, which have been bestowed into our relationship with you. I pray Lord for all to be guided through the Holy Spirit to learn and discern their complete usefulness. Bring into our lives Father the strength to accept your teachings and infirmities as comfort for our spirit and soul to nurture our walk in humility. Open our minds to receive your personal reviews once we complete our own assessments. So we might with humbleness bring before your throne those areas of our walk needing your guidance, correction, and forgiveness. In all things, Father, we pray in the name of Yeshua, Amen, and Amen.
OPENING STATEMENT by Robert
To fully comprehend the depth of the Corinthians move away from Paul’s original teachings into walking in error, my research brought me to commentary by Matthew Henry (1662 – 1774): “It should seem that some boasted mighty things of themselves, and made a good show. But there are often false appearances. A man may seem to be learned who has not learned Christ, and appear virtuous when he has not a principle of grace in his heart. However, the apostle asserts two things of himself: – I. His relation to Christ: If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, even so, are we Christ’s, (2 Corinthians 10:7). It would seem by this that Paul’s adversaries boasted of their relation to Christ as his ministers and servants. Now the apostle reasons thus with the Corinthians: “Suppose it to be so, allowing what they say to be true (and let us observe that, in fair arguing, we should allow all that may be reasonably granted, and should not think it impossible but those who differ from us very much may yet belong to Christ, as well as we), allowing them, “might the apostle say,” what they boast of, yet they ought also to allow this to us, that we also are Christ’s “Note, 1. We must not, by the most charitable allowances we make to others who differ from us, cut ourselves off from Christ, nor deny our relation to him.” For, 2. There is room in Christ for many, and those who differ much from one another may yet be one in him. It would help to heal the differences that are among us if we would remember that, how confident soever we may be that we belong to Christ, yet, at the same time, we must allow that those who differ from us may belong to Christ too, and therefore should be treated accordingly. We must not think that we are the people and that none belong to Christ but ourselves. This we may plead for ourselves, against those who judge us and despise us that, how weak soever we are, yet, as they are Christ’s, so are we: we profess the same faith, we walk by the same rule, we build upon the same foundation, and hope for the same inheritance.”
We find Matthew Henry (1662 – 1774) relating the following in commentary: How common is it for persons to judge of their own religious character, by the opinions and maxims of the world around them! But how different is the rule of God’s word! And of all flattery, self-flattery is the worst. Therefore, instead of praising ourselves, we should strive to approve ourselves to God. In a word, let us glory in the Lord our salvation, and in all other things only as evidence of his love or means of promoting his glory. Instead of praising ourselves, or seeking the praise of men, let us desire that honour which cometh from God only.
He plainly intimates that they took a wrong method to commend themselves, in measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, which was not wise. They were pleased, and did pride themselves, in their own attainments, and never considered those who far exceeded them in gifts and graces, in power and authority; and this made them haughty and insolent.
The application of this Spiritual truth must constantly be made anew, for human nature loves a monopoly; it does not seem real to have a thing unless its possession is exclusive. We are all too ready to unchurch or unchristianize, others; to say, “We are Yeshua’s,” with an emphasis which means that others are not. Assemblies with a strong organization are especially tempted to this unchristian narrowness and pride. Their members think almost instinctively of other Believers as outsiders and inferiors; they would like to take them in, to reordain their ministers, to reform their constitution, to give validity to their sacraments-in one word, to legitimize them as Believers and as Societies of Believers and Followers. All this is mere unintelligence and arrogance.
Legitimacy is a convenient and respectable political fiction; but to make the constitution of any Spiritual body, which has developed under the pressure of historical exigencies, the law for the legitimation of Spiritual life, ministry, and worship everywhere, is to deny the essential character of a Spiritual Walk. It is to play toward men who Yeshua has legitimized by His Spirit, and by His blessing on their work, precisely the part which the Judaisers played toward Paul; and to compromise with it is to betray Christ, and to renounce the freedom of the Spirit.
CLOSING PRAYER by Robert
Father in heaven thank you for this spiritual food which you have brought to us through the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Lord, for calling us to examine our walk and learn the depth of our love for you. Thank you, Father, for showing us who are the true messengers of your word. Thank you for having the patience with us as we slowly move forward in your walk to become your messengers.
Thank you, Father, for the constant protection. Thank you, Lord, for your Grace and Love towards all men. This we pray in the name of Yeshua Amen and Amen.
CLOSING STATEMENT by Robert
The leading of the Holy Spirit brought me to Galatians 2:20 The resurrection of Yeshua is, in Paul’s thought, the other side of His death. They constitute one event, the obverse and reverse of the same reality. For Paul, as for the first Apostles, the resurrection of Yeshua gave to His death an aspect wholly different from that it previously wore. But the transformation wrought in their minds during the “forty days” in his case came about in a single moment and began from a different starting point. Instead of being the merited punishment of a blasphemer and false Messiah, the death of Calvary became the glorious self-sacrifice of the Son of God. The dying and rising of Jews were blended in the Apostle’s mind; he always sees the one in the light of the other. The faith that saves, as he formulates it, is at once a faith that Yeshua died for our sins, and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day. Whichever [1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:11; Romans 4:24-25; Romans 10:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14] of the two one may first apprehend, it brings the other along with it.
The resurrection is not an express topic of this Epistle. Nevertheless, we discern Paul’s knowledge of the gospel and his call to proclaim it, rested upon this fact. In the passage before us, the resurrection is manifestly assumed. If the Apostle is 3″ crucified with Yeshua,” – and yet “Yeshua lives in him,” it is not simply the teaching or the mission of Yeshua which lives over again in Paul; the life of the risen Saviour has itself entered into his soul. It was to be expected that the first impact of these new Spiritual forces on the spirit of man should produce disturbance and violent emotions, such as could not be expected to continue as the normal condition of things. New political or social ideas suddenly possessing a people, as at the French Revolution, carry them to many actions and inspire them with energy which cannot be normal. And gentle and without observation as were the Spirit and the kingdom of Yeshua, yet it was impossible but that, under the pressure of the most influential and inspiring ideas whichever possessed our race, there should be some extraordinary manifestations.
First being accepted as evidence of the real indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they came to be prized for their own sake. Originally designed as signs of the reality of the communication between the risen Lord and His Assembly, and therefore as assurances that the holiness and blessedness promised by Yeshua were not unattainable, they came to be regarded as themselves more precious than the holiness they promised.
Given to this individual and to that in order that each might have some gift by which he could profit the community, they came to be looked upon as distinctions of which the individual was proud and therefore introduced vanity, envy, and separation, instead of mutual esteem and helpfulness. One gift was measured with another and rated above or below it; and, as usual, what was useful could not compete with what was surprising. The gift of speaking for the spiritual profit of the hearers was little thought of in comparison with the gift of speaking in unknown tongues.
It seems believers and followers of Yeshua many like the Corinthians have forgotten what madness they have emerged from. Gentiles carried away to dumb idols, the grossest idolatry, worship of stones through vain imaginations, along with the fraud of their ministers practicing on their ignorance which is the practice of herd mentality. Could the Spirit of God be amongst such stupid idolators or they be influenced by it? The real question; How did Yeshua triumph in the blindness of mankind?
Spiritual gifts were extraordinary powers bestowed in the first ages, to convince unbelievers, and to spread the gospel. Gifts and graces significantly differ. Both were freely given by God. But where grace is given, it is for the salvation of those who have it. Gifts are for the advantage and salvation of others, and there may be great gifts where there is no grace. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were chiefly exercised in the public assemblies, where the Corinthians seem to have made displays of them, wanting in the spirit of piety, and of Followers love. While heathens, they had not been influenced by the Spirit of Yeshua. No man can call Yeshua Lord, with believing dependence upon him, unless that faith is wrought by the Holy Ghost. No man could believe with his heart, or prove by a miracle, that Yeshua was the Messiah, unless by the Holy Ghost.
Paul had reflected on the self-conceit of the Corinthians: “We are fools for Yeshua’s sake, but ye are wise in Yeshua.” That self-conceit led them to think lightly of him. But not just to east him off; they still tolerated him as a feeble sort of person: “Ye do indeed bear with me” But whichever alternative be preferred, the irony passes swiftly into the dead-earnest of the second verse: “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Yeshua” This is the ground on which Paul claims their forbearance, even when he indulges in a little “folly” If he is guilty of what seems to them extravagance, it is the extravagance of jealousy, of love tormented by fear. Nor is it any selfish jealousy, of which he ought to be ashamed. He is not anxious about his private or personal interests in the Assembly. He is not humiliated and provoked because his former pupils have come to their spiritual majority, and asserted their independence of their master. These are common dangers and common sins, and every minister needs to be on his guard against them.
Paul’s jealousy over the Corinthians was “jealousy of God”: God had put it into his heart, and what it had in view was God’s interest in them. It distressed him to think, not that his personal influence at Corinth was on the wane, but that the work which God had done in their souls was in danger of being frustrated, the inheritance He had acquired in them of being lost. Nothing but God’s interest had been in the Apostle’s mind from the beginning “I betrothed you,” he says, “to one husband“-the emphasis lies on one- “that I might present you as a pure virgin to Yeshua.”
Matthew Henry in 2 Corinthians 12:2 through his commentary describes what is believed to be how God dealt with Paul, “ I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.
There can be no doubt the apostle speaks of himself. Whether heavenly things were brought down to him, while his body was in a trance, as in the case of ancient prophets; or whether his soul was dislodged from the body for a time, and taken up into heaven, or whether he was taken up, body and soul together, he knew not.
We are not capable, nor is it fit we should yet know, the particulars of that glorious place and state. He did not attempt to publish to the world what he had heard there, but he set forth the doctrine of Christ. On that foundation, the Assembly of believers is built, and on that, we must build our faith and hope. And while this teaches us to enlarge our expectations of the glory that shall be revealed, it should render us contented with the usual methods of learning the truth and will of God.
The account of the method God took to keep him humble and to prevent his being lifted up above measure, on account of the visions and revelations he had. We are not told what this thorn in the flesh was, whether some great trouble or some great temptation. But God often brings this good out of evil, that the reproaches of our enemies help to hide pride from us. If God loves us, he will keep us from being exalted above measure; and spiritual burdens are ordered to cure spiritual pride. This thorn in the flesh is said to be a messenger of Satan which he sent for evil, but God designed it and overruled it for good.
Paul, therefore, did not mention this immediately, nor till above fourteen years after, (2 Corinthians 12:2). And then it is not without some reluctance, as a thing which in a manner he was forced to by the necessity of the case. Again, he speaks of himself in the third person and does not say, I am the man who was thus honoured above other men. Still, his humility appears by the check he seems to put upon himself (2 Corinthians 12:6), which plainly shows that he delighted not to dwell upon this theme.
Thus was he, who was not behind the chief of the apostles in dignity, very eminent for his humility. Note, It is an excellent thing to have a lowly spirit in the midst of high advancements, and those who abuse themselves shall be exalted. We would find humility when comparing ourselves to those who excel us, this would be a good exercise in keeping us humble. Paul considered by applying the following rule “not to boast of things without a measure,” which was the measure God has distributed to us. When we use our own prejudices to judge persons and their opinions, it becomes a fruitful source of error.
Remember, these messages are given by a humble servant obedient unto our Lord Yeshua as a “Watchman.” This I pray for all. ”Our Heavenly Father brings us to the river which bringeth forth fruit so we may partake of its sustenance and be filled spiritually with nurturing wisdom, and humble dedication in service to Yeshua.“ “Blessings to All.” As you go forward in peace, knowledge, and strength. In the name of Yeshua, we pray Amen and Amen.