2 Corinthians 10:7 – Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
I was in the marching band in high school. Sometimes when we would take a break from playing music, the opposing school’s marching band would call out from their seats, “We’ve got spirit! Yes, we do! We’ve got spirit! How ’bout YOU!” We would reply in kind, and the two groups of spirited teenagers would echo this chant back and forth until eventually we exhausted ourselves proving who had the most spirit. It was largely an exercise in boasting and noise. I am not sure there was ever a winner.
Sometimes we find that our experience as Christians is entirely too similar to this futile excercise. We are so sure that our group, an individual church or even an entire denomination, has exclusive knowledge or righteousness that others lack. While it is certainly true that I disagree with the doctrines or practices of certain groups under the wider umbrella of Christendom, I cannot help but think we often spend too much time saying we are right to the detriment of true righteousness.
Writing to the stubborn Corinthians of his day, the Apostle Paul was well acquainted with the idea of elitism. Raised a pure blooded Jew of the sect of the Pharisees, he had made a career out of persecuting those who disagreed with his once narrow views. An encounter with Jesus Christ changed him forever, but what about us? Have we been changed by our experience with the Savior or are we still trying to yell louder than our perceived enemies with the same old arguments?
Throughout 2 Corinthians 10 Paul makes the case that his words would preceed his actions, and his actions would demonstrate the validity of the truth he preached. Though as an Apostle, his authority was indisputable, Paul understood that authority alone would not change hearts. Our words and actions must corroborate the Spirit of Jesus Christ in the hearts of His people. He is the measure of faithfulness and godliness to which we strive, not me or you. We must not encumber the truth with our opinions.
So the next time you think you are right, exchange that for being righteous instead. “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).