Now by the mildness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am humble when face to face with you, but bold when away. I beg you that when I come, I may not need to be as bold as I expect toward those who presume that we live according to the flesh.
For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, as soon as your obedience is complete.
You are looking at outward appearances. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should remind himself that we belong to Christ just as much as he does. For even if I boast somewhat excessively about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed.
I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you by my letters. For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is unimpressive, and his speaking is of no account.” Such people should consider that what we are in our letters when absent, we will be in our actions when present.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they show their ignorance. We, however, will not boast beyond our limits, but only within the field of influence that God has assigned to us—a field that reaches even to you. We are not overstepping our bounds, as if we had not come to you. Indeed, we were the first to reach you with the gospel of Christ.
Neither do we boast beyond our limits in the labors of others. But we hope that, as your faith increases, our area of influence among you will greatly increase as well, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. Then we will not be boasting in the work already done in another man’s territory.
Rather, Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. II Corinthians 10