I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”? (2 Corinthians 1:16-17 NIV)
Paul has written to the church in Corinth informing them of his desire to come and visit them. He planned to make two visits, but God had other plans. Since it appears that Paul has informed the Corinthians of his plans, should his commitment to them take priority over the leading of the Holy Spirit? When Paul made his plan, it looked like a good one. He was committed to the plan and communicated it. Something changed, and Paul had to withdraw his commitment to the visits. From the way he writes it seems that there were people in Corinth who questioned Paul’s integrity. It also appears that Paul’s number one priority is his relationship with Jesus Christ.
I wish I was as confident as Paul in God’s leading. I’m more likely to not follow through on a commitment because I was unwilling to say no when the request was made. Paul’s example is clear. I should say either yes or no, but be willing to change if God’s leading changes.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV)
Paul is confident in the decisions he has made. He wants the Corinthians to understand, but he isn’t going to be guided by their opinion of him. Paul is not a people pleaser. He is a God pleaser. He is fully confident of his position in relationship to God and wants us to be equally confident. The first two conditions seem contradictory. Anointing was reserved for priests and kings. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us that we are a royal priesthood. We have been anointed as both. We also belong to God and it is his kingdom that we serve. We know we belong to him and that we will live with God forever because he has chosen to live in us now.
God has given me everything I need to live a confident life. No matter what other people think or the suffering I encounter I know that I belong to God and he has guaranteed my future.
To my grandchildren:
God wants you to live with confidence. You need not worry about what other people think as long as you are following Jesus.