2 Corinthians 11:1…
What would a man be willing to endure for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
What would a man be willing to endure for the sake of his own ego, position, or power?
In Chapter 11 of 2nd Corinthians, Paul brings the disparity between these two questions into sharp contrast, and it helps us not only understand his care and concern for the church at Corinth by what he has been through for their sake, but also why God allows this kind of conflict in our lives.
As a rhetorical matter – though personally undesiring of doing so – Paul, as led by the Holy Spirit describes all he has endured in the course of his ministry life. It has not been pretty, or comfortable, or easy. “Have you any idea,” Paul could have said, “all I have been through for the sake of your eternal lives?”
Of course, this invites the church at Corinth to examine the lives of Paul’s critics, as if to say, “What have they endured for your sakes?”
It is always easy to come into an established work of Christ and begin to undermine it with criticisms of its form – as if the form was more important than the substance.
But for those who have laid the foundation, doing the inglorious and laborious work required, and sacrificing their whole lives as led of the Lord to establish the work in the first place, the relative ease and comfort of the critics of said labor should have no say at all in the lives of those who have any idea what was required in the lives of the builders of the foundation, beginning with Jesus Christ Himself.
Building a church from the ground-up is very hard work. Impossible work, apart from God’s grace. Tearing it down by way of worldly comparisons and criticisms and appeals to the carnality of men is easy. It’s obvious Satan will arrange a raft of criticism against any work being done for the sake of Christ. Satan especially hates church plants.
But the critics always fade away when something is required of them.
By contrast, God loves church plants so much He sent His only Son to die that they may arise from nothing. And He allows his servants to experience and endure so much along the way it is inarguable their sincerity for Christ and ove for the people is genuine.
To compare the speaking style of the one who led you to salvation by the content of his message and the quality of his endurance for your sake to the speaking style of some polished critic is the height of self-indulgent ignorance. Always reject the critics of the work of God, especially when they have nothing in mind but themselves.