Hidden Agenda


I work in sales, and my job is to get customers to purchase our product, plain and simple. When speaking to my customers, I have found that one of the things they can’t stand is a salesperson with an ulterior motive. When year-end comes, and a salesperson comes with a “hard sell,” it is painfully obvious that they have their own best interest at heart, and not the customer’s. I don’t think any of us appreciate when someone is not truthful and direct in his or her communication with us. However, we are all guilty of being insincere at times.

  • Would your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors say that you are a sincere person, based on how you behave toward them?


12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 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. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 23 But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 12-14.)

  1. What was Paul’s boast, and with what kind of sincerity did Paul say he had behaved? How was Paul able to achieve this behavior? Why is this important?
  2. Why is it significant that Paul did not write “anything other than what you read and understand”? What was his hope (vs. 14)?
  3. How can we use Paul’s example as a model in our own Christian walk? How can you be more sincere in your interactions with others?


As the “spiritual father” of the Corinthians, Paul wanted them to know his motives were pure. As Christians, it is important that our motives are unadulterated by our selfish desires. We are to be proud of speaking with godly sincerity. But, too often, our desire to promote ourselves trumps our calling to exalt the one true God.

  • Reflect on a time when you communicated in a way that did not bring glory to God. Ask God for forgiveness.
  • Ask God to give you strength to be simple and sincere in your interactions with others.