People are given to boasting these days – politicians, celebrities, sportsmen and many others. Our chapters in 2 Corinthians show that attitudes like this were a problem at Corinth, but Paul’s opening chapters include praise for the improving spirit in the ecclesia so that “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ we will boast about you” (1:14).

Paul’s success in Corinth was creating envy and jealousy among others. Anyone with only a limited grasp of spiritual things show that their minds are dominated by fleshly motivations; this is evident in what they talk about, which amounts to boasting. Paul says that these “commend themselves … they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (10:12). The seriousness of this way of thinking is that it is developed from the way of thinking that led to sin in the Garden of Eden. Note how Paul makes this point (11:3).

At Corinth it was causing some to “be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ”. Paul says, “if someone comes and proclaims a different Jesus to the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (verses 3,4). This happens today, that is why there are so many different churches.

Our minds must have a constant input from God and His Son, through reading and meditation on His word or we will descend to human ways of thinking and boasting. It is said that having self-esteem is very important and many evangelical churches delight to push this theme, but it has no basis in God’s word, it undermines the spirit of humility.

The atmosphere at Corinth was in danger of deteriorating. We need God’s word IN our thoughts every day to help keep out the fleshly attitudes that surround us. Paul says, don’t you realize Christ is IN you? Those who are following Christ need to realize this as fully as they can.