2 Corinthians 1:15…
There is a great difference between lordship and mentorship.
It may seem a fine line, but Paul would have the church at Corinth and those in the region of Achaia understand his desire for their improvement is not an order from the boss, but instead is the leading of the Lord.
He holds himself in the same place he desires they would hold themselves. Only Jesus is Lord, and no man.
Sometimes this gets confused unintentionally, and people drawn to a certain leader’s skills and abilities willingly submit themselves to the man or woman without realizing they have left Christ out of the equation. Then, if or when that leader fails or falls, the faith of the people who have placed themselves under their headship is greatly challenged and may even fail.
Sometimes this happens intentionally, when church leaders misconstrue the Bible to say it is necessary for those in the church be under the ‘dominion’ of the leaders in the church, and each and every decision must be brought before the church to allow the church leaders to determine the outcome.
In either case, it is a threat to the church, because in either case Jesus is no longer Lord of each person, but man is.
Man – even a great man like Paul – can never be lord of anyone’s life.
This is the point Paul is making here in the second half of chapter one of his second letter to the church at Corinth. Many in the church at Corinth are angry at Paul for not showing up when he said he would, and many are disappointed to the extent they question his apostleship.
But Paul is saying, “I have told you the right things to do, and me being there should make no difference to you in whether you do them or not.”
When you are led by the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit Himself says, “Yes and amen!” to the commands of God, and that takes place independent of any man. He may use man to deliver His message, but if you keep His commands because of man you have done so for the wrong reason.
Paul himself becomes an example of this, placing himself under God’s direction not man’s – even to his own hurt, physically at Ephesus, and to his reputation at Corinth. He delayed at Ephesus because God told him to, and it nearly cost him his life. He had conveyed to the church at Corinth he would be back in less than one year, it was now more than two years later – and he had no way to let them know, (prior to now,) what was going on in his life.
Had they been let down? Was this the Lord’s opportunity to show them He is Lord and not Paul?