The people who opposed Paul in Corinth had a wrong idea about the Christian life. That idea caused them to have a completely wrong opinion about Paul’s attitudes, too.
They thought that matters of the ‘flesh’ guided Paul’s life. The flesh means the human body. So, these people were saying that natural feelings and desires caused Paul to act as he did.
So, a person naturally desires his own comfort. He wants to feel important so he tries to impress other people. He wants to make friends so he is afraid to upset people. His feelings and emotions - for example, fear, happiness, joy and pain - guide his decisions.
Of course while Christians live in this world, they have the same feelings as everyone else. However, they desire strongly not to behave in the selfish way that their feelings might cause them to behave. They do not live for their own comfort, happiness and profit - but to serve God. Their ambition is to please God, and not to please themselves.
Paul compared the Christian life to a war. It is necessary for Christians to oppose some things in this life. Sometimes they must even oppose the thoughts that come into their own minds. What God wants, must always have the first place in their lives. No feeling of their body, no thought of their mind, can ever be more important than God. Christians must not try to please themselves or anyone else. Their task is always to please God.
Next part: The weapons that God’s people use (10:4)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.