It is natural to draw comparisons between us and them. As Paul draws his second letter to the Corinthians to a conclusion, he expresses concern about certain influences which were not spiritually healthy. He writes, “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have power to destroy strongholds” (10:4).
The weapons Paul is interested in are not physical; they are those which destroy the strongholds of wrong thinking. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ …” (verse 5). It is the words of Christ and his apostles which “destroy arguments” founded on human reasoning, which are even more dangerous when they are expressed as a “lofty opinion” seeming to be an extension of God’s revealed word. Paul writes of “our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up …” (verse 8), but he is concerned about “those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another they are without understanding” (verse 12). Real understanding and genuine faith will only increase when it is built up on a true “knowledge of God” (verse 5). as found in his revealed word.
Paul says, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than 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” (11:3,4).
It is those who “measure themselves by one another” instead of the word of God that distort the nature and message of Jesus Christ. Through our constant reading and reflection on the words of Scripture may we learn to measure ourselves by the word of God.