“Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.” 1 Corinthians 4:10-13
There was a time that Paul gloried in his strength; but then he met Jesus Christ and he realized that his assets were really liabilities. “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:7-9) It was through his own personal suffering that Paul discovered that his spiritual strength was the result of personal weakness.
The Christians at Corinth wanted the honor that comes from worldly wisdom, not from God. They were borrowing glory by associating themselves with great men. Paul wanting them to know that if they associated with him, they needed to be ready to suffer, because the world despised them. The world looks at our being a servant to Jesus Christ as foolish, but the wisest thing you can do is build your foundation on Jesus Christ. Paul and the other apostles were treated just as their Lord was treated; but God vindicated them and brought glory to His name.