“If we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Although we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:13-17
When Paul stood before Festus, he was regarded as being a bit “mad.” On account of the doctrines he spoke to the king. Maybe it was because of the way he spoke, with authority and dignity and enthusiasm. Paul was a dynamic and fiery character, who did exploits for God. He was not shy or retiring and had such a love for his Saviour, that he was sometimes taken into the heavens in ecstasies.
“… For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I don’t know, or whether out of the body, I don’t know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven. I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I don’t know; God knows), how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
2 Corinthians 12:1-4
Paul was blessed with visions and insight that others did not have. Perhaps people thought he was a bit “different” a bit unusual and therefore labelled him with judgment. Paul is not bothered about his state of mind before Christ, and recognises the work of God in his life. In his moments of ecstasy, Paul is “out of his mind.” He is not operating as a usual person, but is seeing and hearing things for another dimension, the spiritual realm.
He is a deeply spiritual man and loves God above all others. God richly blesses him with insight, wisdom and a deep understanding of the Scriptures, which he had studied from a young child. Paul’s spiritual insight we have recorded for us in the New Testament, in his epistles. They are the very words of God.
This is why He is so useful to the growing church of Christ all around the world. They can learn for him in all sorts of ways. Paul speaks to them rationally and “in his right mind.” This is so that people could access his words and think reasonable about them. His words are recoded for us, so that we also can share in that process.
Paul lived for Christ, and so should we. We are dead to ourselves and alive to the spiritual life inside of us. It ought to make a difference to us and the way we operate. We can see into heaven, thought the Scripture and the experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The next section in chapter 12 is Paul talking about his “thorn in the flesh.” Many regard this as some physical abnormality, but could have been a mind orientated condition, that was hard to decipher and cope with. This would fit the many skills and abilities, especially of the mind, that Paul possessed. It made him stronger and the person God intended him to be. To sort out a mind dilemma from a vision, is a difficult thing to do! But Paul was guided and taught by the Spirit, and we have everything recorded for our purposes, to guide us also.
Wether we are regarded as “out of our mind,” or not, is immaterial, since we are in Christ and He orders all these things, for our benefit. We listen to the Word and the Spirit and obey the Lord in all things, doing all for the benefit of the body of Christ, the church, His Beloved bride…