2 Corinthians 1:17-18 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.

Through these rhetorical questions, Paul challenges the Corinthians to look deeper than simply what they see on the surface. He wants them to see the sincerity of his heart. He was not a person to vacillate and make arbitrary plans. He did his best to follow God’s leading in all he did. He did not make plans “according to the flesh.” This phrase implies selfish motives of self-preservation and comfort. He uses the word “flesh” often in his letters in a negative way to describe pleasure and following the easy way that satisfies selfish desires. The flesh often avoids persecution and pain and choses the false promises of satisfaction. This type of living can make a person insincere because such a person is not following firm convictions. Whatever brings happiness and less pain for a particular day or situation is followed and not necessarily the way of God’s kingdom.

Paul, however, followed his convictions. He did not make his decisions lightly but sought God’s will for his plans. The Corinthians could not accuse him of insincerity because he lined up his life with God’s purposes and plans. The only firm way to do this is to be in intimate and abiding relationship of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Through this relationship, Paul was convinced that his words to the Corinthians were according to God’s will. His conscience was clear about this. He felt no conviction about wrong doing. His message was in line with God’s will.

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