Paul Speaks Up for Himself
1Christ is gentle and free of pride. So I make my appeal to you. I, Paul, am the one you call shy when I am face to face with you. But when I am away from you, you call me bold. 2I beg you that when I come I won't have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people. They think that I live the way the people of this world live.
3I do live in the world. But I don't fight my battles the way the people of the world do. 4The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it is just the opposite. My weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy.
5I destroy every claim and every reason that keeps people from knowing God. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ. 6Until you have obeyed completely, I will be ready to punish you every time you don't obey.
7You are looking only at what appears on the surface of things. Suppose you are sure you belong to Christ. Then you should consider again that I belong to Christ just as much as you do.
8Do I brag too much about the authority the Lord gave me? If I do, it's because I want to build you up, not pull you down. And I'm not ashamed of that kind of bragging.
9Don't think that I'm trying to scare you with my letters. 10Some say, "His letters sound important. They are powerful. But in person he doesn't seem like much. And what he says doesn't amount to anything." 11People like that have a lot to learn. What I say in my letters when I'm away from you, I will do in my actions when I'm with you.
12I don't dare to compare myself with those who praise themselves. I'm not that kind of person. They measure themselves by themselves. They compare themselves with themselves. When they do that, they are not wise.
13But I won't brag more than I should. Instead, I will brag only about what I have done in the area God has given me. It is an area that reaches all the way to you. 14I am not going too far in my bragging. I would be going too far if I hadn't come to where you live. But I did get there with the good news about Christ.
15And I won't brag about work done by others. If I did, I would be bragging more than I should. As your faith continues to grow, I hope that my work among you will greatly increase. 16Then I will be able to preach the good news in the areas beyond you. I don't want to brag about work already done in someone else's territory.
17But, "The one who brags should brag about what the Lord has done." (Jeremiah 9:24) 18Those who praise themselves are not accepted. Those the Lord praises are accepted.