Let the Spirit guide your giving
So I, Paul, am asking you to do this with all the meekness and gentleness of our Lord, Christ Jesus. You still remember how when I was among you, I did not act as if I was above you, but instead acted as your servant. Since I have been away, I have spoken to you as a father speaks to disobedient children, but this is not a reprimand or a demand. If those words are thought self-serving, I ask you to remember: I do not serve myself, but our Lord.
Our Lord does not use carnal weapons against our enemies, but spiritual ones which destroy the strongholds of disbelief and fear.
Anything that stands against the Holy Spirit will be destroyed, and the Spirit will claim a victory in every heart in the name of Jesus, in the name of God.
It is the Spirit that will speak to the hearts of the disobedient, and not our bodies or our minds.
If you believe you belong to Christ, yet still think you must act when the Spirit has not told you to, you need to reexamine yourself.
I could make more of my authority as an apostle, an office given by our Lord to bring you the joy of redemption and assurance, not to condemn you. I would be within my rights to do so. Perhaps my letters would have a greater effect on those who oppose my authority if I did.
They tell you my letters are just sent to scare you, and in person I am not scary at all, and I am not very skilled at speaking. But you know whatever I ask you to do in these letters, I will be the example of these very things when I am there in person.
It is not my place to compare myself to the apostles, nor to claim any authority of my own. Those who do so are promoting themselves, not God. They pat one another on the back and want to be praised for their wisdom, when in truth they have none.
I will not boast of anything, for it is God who has accomplished all these things through me. I have no right to take credit for God's works.
My mission is to preach the gospel of Christ, not to take glory for Paul or the ability of the Holy Spirit to move other men to preach or labor for God. My hope is that your faith will increase, and by that increase you will seek out ways to serve God and listen to the Holy Spirit. My hope is that by your faith, our God is glorified in abundance.
Be humble and serve God, so that your faith will encourage others to spread the word. Be satisfied that in serving our Lord, you are serving His beloved, including yourselves.
For God doesn't care about your degrees, your titles, or your status in this world. God will commend the faithful and reward them with authority and abundance to His glory.
It isn't about me or you, it's about God.
Apparently there were still a few holdouts from the first letter, folks who were still debating Paul's apostleship or his ability to preach or lead the church. Paul wants to assure them they are not only wrong as Christians, but fighting against the will of the Spirit. The giving Paul is speaking of here is not only financial support for the ministry, but also of giving the Holy Spirit credit for the growth of the church and its influence in the community.
As in the first letter, Paul is quick to remind them that he was made an apostle by Jesus himself, and not simply by the election of the 11 to replace Judas or by some other council of men. Yet, as Paul says, he does not act as if his position should afford him special treatment. In fact, Paul is adamant to follow the example of Christ in his own life, a servant to all mankind and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When you think of the great men of the 20th and 21st centuries we are so familiar with (Ghandi, Mandela, King, etc.), men who's lives have personified self sacrifice and an unswerving commitment to peace, you should think of the example of Christ. Not because they were Christians, but because they took it upon themselves to surrender their own desires to serve mankind.
No matter what name you choose to call yourself, that IS the example of Christ. To live a life committed to loving mankind, forgiving all injustices committed against you, and refusing to judge any other person is a life of LOVE, true LOVE.
Paul chose to live such a life. Mandela chose to live such a life. Ghandi chose to live such a life. Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. All of these people chose to live a life of LOVE.
No matter what your life has been to this point, tomorrow is a new day, a new opportunity to live the life you are meant to live.
How will you choose to live your life?
I hope you are having a blessed and glorious day.