“Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.” 2 Corinthians 13:7-9/NIV).
Often I am beginning my posts with one verse from the bible. Today I started with three verses.
Paul says he was praying for the believers at Corinth. A pastor might be tempted to pray primarily in order to be successful in his job. Paul says he did not really care to be hailed by people. To shine and to be respected by all the others was not his primary goal.
He wanted the church at Corinth to be strong spiritually. It was his prayer that they would be kept from doing anything wrong. He wanted them to be good examples. He wanted them to shine. He wanted them to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.
I feel a good teacher would not primarily seek to be admired for his knowledge and teaching skills. A good teacher would do everything in his power that his students should grow and learn all they need to learn.
As a teenager I heard and read about Christians that were persecuted in Eastern European countries and in the Soviet Union. I tended to feel these Christians were some kind of heroes. One day in a church meeting I heard a brother who had been imprisoned in Soviet Union because he was a believer. I was amazed at his simplicity and humility.
Paul on his missionary journeys had to face a lot of opposition and hostility. He knew what it means to suffer for Christ.
Some of the believers at Corinth would complain Paul was not a very impressive personality. Paul, however, was concerned lest some other teachers they admired would lead them astray.
Paul did not spend his time praying for God to change his own situation. He did not pray that others should admire him and become his devout followers.
Paul knew about all the difficulties and testing Christian believers might have to face. It was his desire that other believers also should be able to stand and to endure adversity.
Paul knew about temptations that might come. He did pray for the Corinthian believers that they would perfectly and wholeheartedly follow Jesus.
Paul did not aim at others considering him greater than he really was. He just was himself. He knew he was a man in Christ and sent by God. He had a task to pursue.
Paul was living and labouring for the truth of Christ. He was not given to false pretence.
He did pray for the Corinthian believers even though this might lead to them apparently being stronger than him. He was not irritated about that. Yet he also earnestly prayed that they should remain perfectly loyal to Jesus when facing difficulties.