Paul sets up a comparison between two ways to live… we can live by the standards and ‘tools’ of human society or we can live by the standards and ‘tools’ of God. Paul’s word to the Corinthians spoke directly to me...
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete (1-6 bold mine).
I found myself wondering what the standards of this world are. Wandering mentally through the two letters to Corinthians I saw some glimpses …
Lawsuits… using the power structures and human reasoning of the world to win one’s way.
Controlled by sex and appetites... rather than love and devotion to the Lord.
Divisiveness… my group is better than your group, my leader is better than your leader, etc.
Pride… my gifts are more important than your gifts.
Boasting and bragging... about one’s credentials.
Such was the way of the world then and surprisingly still is today. With all our boasting (there’s that attitude again) about how we are advancing and becoming more civilized, it seems we still are the same base self as humans.
Paul on the other hand argues for believers living on a different plane, where we access divine power to demolish strongholds. Where we allow the love of Jesus to permeate us so that we act differently toward others…
Surrendering our wants and rights for the sake of unity in the body.
Where we see the blessing and benefit of everyone regardless of what gifts the Lord has given them.
Where we live on a higher standard when it comes to our appetites (sex, food, drink) no longer controlled by them.
Where we see the whole and not just subgroups and where human elements of race, gender, economic status, and ethnicity are not divisions to be fostered.
Where we can take captive all worldly attitudes and live by godly attitudes.
Quite a difference in one’s manner of life…
Now questions emerge in my heart. How am I doing? Can I identify my weaknesses for worldly ways, so I can surrender them to the Lord? …
Reveal to me, Lord, where I need to grow; where I am depending one worldly ways rather than Your ways. Show me Lord. Grow me Lord. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen