Have you ever been judged to be “not Christian enough?” What does that mean? Have you found yourself looking at someone who claims to be a Christian and deciding they are not Christian enough or that there is no way they are a Believer? They drink too much. They cuss. They hang out with weird people. They have tattoos.
Paul was being judged that way as well. According to 2 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul was being accused of being too afraid to be bold in person and saved all his audaciousness for his letters. He was accused of being too fleshly (not Christian enough). This is the guy that wrote a huge portion of the New Testament. The guy who planted churches and spread Christianity to the gentiles. This is the guy who suffered for Christ by being stoned, imprisoned, and shipwrecked. This is the guy who gave up his easy and promising life as a Pharisee to show people the love of Jesus. This is the guy whose spiritual gifts were so strong that even a handkerchief that touched him could heal the sick.
He wasn’t Christian enough? Seriously? Wow, I am definitely not Christian enough then. I enjoy a drink. I cuss sometimes. I listen to heavy metal music. I like the occasional horror movie. According to many people, I must not be saved!
It doesn’t seem to matter how we behave sometimes people will accuse us of not being Christian. Even John the Baptist and Jesus (YES Jesus the Christ Himself!) were accused of being satanic. Jesus spoke about it in Matthew 11:18-19
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
If even Jesus wasn’t Christian enough, who is? But Jesus says, “Wisdom is justified by her deeds.” Luke 7:35 says, “Wisdom is justified by all her children.” It doesn’t matter what Joe or Larry say about your spiritual state. Your Christianity isn’t revealed by your puritanical behavior or by your relaxed outlook. The fruit of your salvation is manifested in the results of your life. Are you actively and intentionally loving people, making disciples, building the church and glorifying Christ? That is evidence enough for them. If they choose to ignore it, it is their problem not yours.
In verses 3-6 Paul assures them He is saved.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
The people judging Paul as a fake did so because they didn’t want to face the discipline. They didn’t want to fix the issues in their own lives and so they focused on issues in his. They were missing the point. They changed the emphasis from glorifying Christ and building up the church to nit-picking, critiquing and comparing who was a better Christian than who. The enemy loves that. The enemy doesn’t want you loving one another, edifying one another and in doing so glorifying Jesus as Lord.
So rather than try and decide who’s who in Christianity, why not be who God created you to be? Be a Jesus Follower, filled with The Holy Spirit, looking at the world through The Father’s eyes, loving people as Jesus loves, and waging war against the enemy instead of for him.
We don’t need to boast about ourselves. We do not need the approval of man. We seek God’s acclamation. Verses 17-18 read,
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”