In 2 Corinthians 10:1-13:10, Paul transitions to his last difficult subject. The majority of Corinthians were responsive to Paul (7:8-16), but he continued to have his critics who were fueled by the seduction of false apostles. Paul directly addresses his accusers (2 Corinthians 10:7, 10-12; 11:4, 20-23) and answers their false charges. He has to "boast" but his boasting is "glorying in Jesus Christ" rather than himself. He uses the Greek word translated "boast/glory" twenty times in 2 Corinthians 10-13.
In this chapter, Paul responded to the charge that he was bold in his letters but carried no authority in person. Paul used his authority with Christ-like meekness and gentleness (Matthew 11:29, 2 Corinthians 10:1). Apparently, the Judaizers were much more overbearing than Paul, and the people mistakenly thought this meant they had authority (2 Corinthians 11:13, 20).
The false teachers used weapons of the world like fancy oratory and overbearing authority. Paul used much more effective and divinely powerful weapons that aimed to tear down Satan's whole "campaign" against God so that people might surrender wholeheartedly to Him (Matthew 16:18). Part of Satan's strategy is to hold people's minds with worldly reasoning and wisdom that is opposed to the Word of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-20). That is why Paul's main offensive weapons were the Word of God and prayer (Ephesians 6:17-18; Joshua 6:1-20)!
The Message communicates it this way (with italics indicating my emphasis):
The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)Paul's method did not win them to him or a superficial faith but to a whole new way of thinking and living out their lives in obedience to God! And God would be the only One who needed to commend him for it (2 Corinthians 10:18)!
I have been in community with a woman who loves God. She hears God's truth in prayer (one of the "God-tools/weapon"), but I am realizing she does not soak in the Word of God, and I need to be bolder in using the "God-tool" of the Word of God when I am with her. I do that with women in my prayer counseling sessions, but I do not do that with this woman because I think she does not want it (I suggested studying the Word with her, but it has never happened. So, we just talk.), but recently, she said how much she appreciated that another woman had shared Scripture with her, and it made me think that maybe I have been overly-timid! Such a balance between godly boldness and being overbearing!
Are you utilizing your "God-tools" in your warfare against the World, the flesh, and the devil?
Lord, thank You that You have given us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) so that we can be in battle against Your foes. Help us to remember to utilize them so that You might be glorified! Amen.