We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. 2 CORINTHIANS 10:13-18
Our character is the most powerful currency we have to influence others. The fuel to love the difficult people in our lives comes from knowing we have been trusted with the integrity of His image and influence of His love. Having felt the amazing love of Christ firsthand, we desire for others to experience the one thing that has transformed our lives. Forgiven people are to be forgiving people.
Our relationships must be expressive. The Apostle Paul explains it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:14: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all have died.” In other parts of Scripture, Paul’s prayer for people within his care is that they would know how “wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
He takes this personal investment a step further in Galatians 4:19 using the imagery of childbirth to describe the anguish he feels when others are hurting and do not know the love of Christ. Paul understood the only true source of hope for this lost world. Instead of pointing people to himself, he always directed others to the life of Christ.
Without Christ’s love serving as the fuel that drives us to respond, we find ourselves resorting to manipulation in our interactions with others. This leads us to attempt to be the conduit for change. The wrong source produces the wrong image. The difference between manipulation and influence is the motive.
We must learn to love in such a way that people respond to Him and not us. Jesus’ commission to make disciples was to proclaim a message of redemption and hope. This hope for lasting change rests solely in the hands of the Great Redeemer. Humans were never wired to walk through this world in search of hope, rescue, and forgiveness alone.
God has placed the responsibility of being His hands and heart to this world solely on the Body of Christ. This mission to reach people and help them walk with God is a personal call He has made to each one of us.
- How is Christ’s love compelling you to love others?
- How are your relationships expressing Christ’s love?
Lord, help me to test my motives on a continual basis. May I be filled with Your love so I don’t resort to manipulating others to fill that need to be loved. Allow me to care with integrity. I want the care I provide others to be pure and centered on the hope You provide. In your name, Jesus. Amen.