Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference. (2 Corinthians 10:18)
Paul had been speaking with the Corinthian believers and he shares the importance of not claiming credit for the work of others. Perhaps some had accused him of trying to 'step in' and take over the church there, we don't really know. What we do know is that he had written letters to the church in Corinth, attempting to correct some wrong behavior on the part of some believers there. In turn, he was criticized. Isn't that just the way we act at times - getting ourselves into some compromising position and then wanting to turn the attention from ourselves to those who actually notice that behavior? Whenever sin is confronted, criticism is not too far behind. It is second nature for us to point the finger at another when we feel confronted - we call it 'cover-up'. We humans have been doing this since the beginning of time.
The point Paul wants to make is that we can criticize, or we can embrace discipline. When discipline is embraced, it lends to the work God is doing in his church. Life before Christ might have led to some 'not so good' choices and those choices need some correction now that we have made a decision to follow Christ. This is what it means to be 'disciplined' - to embrace change where it is needed and allow Christ to transform us where we most need that transformation to occur. Rather than put up defenses, we might do well to embrace what we hear as truth regardless of the messenger who brings it!
What we say about ourselves - that is an interesting consideration this morning. What is it we say about ourselves? How is it we see our circumstances - the sum of our choices? We might boast that our life is 'pretty good', but in reality, there are things we don't want others to really get wind of anytime soon. Choices we have made that we aren't all that proud of at times. We've all been there - making choices, realizing they weren't the best ones, then attempting to get away from them before anyone else realizes we have made them. If someone happens to confront us about one of them, what do we do? Do we put up our defenses, or do we embrace the discipline that comes as a result of being 'uncovered'?
Man might see the outward manifestation of inward choices, but God sees both. He knows where we struggle, and he wants to deliver us from that struggle. He knows we don't always make the best choices - especially when tired, weak, or distracted from attentiveness to him. Sometimes he brings discipline - in varying forms - not to hurt us, but to heal us. This might seem hard for a time, but as with the Corinthian believers who had made poor choices, there is full restoration. In fact, that restoration brings a new understanding of the depth and breadth of God's grace. Isn't that a good thing? I think so. Just sayin!