S16P9 – Personal lessons from Paul: focus on the spirit, not the person

2 Cor. 11:6
I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

There are two ways to view this verse. The first is from the perspective of the audience. Paul is asking the listener to focus on what matters when it comes to his teaching and the authority with which he does it. His calling was not to be a great orator. His calling was to teach the truth of God. It was not his delivery that mattered but his content. Paul is challenging his audience to look past the man and focus on the message. If, in fact, it is God’s message, then we are hearing not the man’s words but God’s words. We should be hungry for that kind of teaching no matter how eloquently it is delivered. We must focus on that which appeals to our spirits, not our eyes and ears.

The second way to view this verse is from the perspective of the speaker. When God calls us to a certain task, we start to weigh our abilities. We think of the reasons the calling fits us and also how it seems impossible. Often times, what we think we need to fulfill God’s calling is not what He provides, but what He provides is always perfect. In Paul’s case, it would be sensible to think that a teacher, a preacher, would be given the gift of polished oration. However, what God provided him had nothing to do with appearances or presentation. God provided knowledge, which is all about substance. To do God’s work, it mattered not how Paul spoke but of what he spoke. To fulfill his task, Paul only had to submit to allowing God speak through him.

That which qualifies a person in the world is not necessarily what qualifies a person in God’s kingdom. Whether we are considering our own service to God or that of someone else, we must understand that our work for God is about substance and not about show. We cannot be distracted by the physical to the point of being unable to discern the spiritual. The wrong perspective will have us ignoring the truth spoken by the shy sheep and embracing the lies spoken by the charismatic wolf. Father, grow our discernment for that which matters in the spirit, so that we may know when the service is the fruit of your calling and your doing and not of human effort.