Words of Faith 12-8-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 10:12
 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 are not wise.
How do you defend yourself without boasting? And what are the proper limits if any in such self-commendation? Paul waded in and defined some of that for us as he was dealing with the harsh criticism coming at him from his opponents-- the false apostles who had come into Corinth behind him-- who were commending themselves and putting Paul down.
Paul had to be careful. It is very difficult to defend oneself and carefully walk without sounding like one is boasting. To be honest, Paul was in a whole different league from these guys and he should not have had to say a word! So he basically refused to enter into the realm of comparison and self commendation with those who made comparisons that were fundamentally flawed.
The biggest flaw in Paul's opponents was the inadequate standard by which they evaluated themselves. These false apostles compared themselves not with the divine standard exemplified by Christ but with other men, using human standards. In doing so, no matter how much they bragged about their human wisdom they showed themselves to be not wise, but fools. As Paul had written to the Corinthians "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor. 1:20).
Paul will get on to the proper place of boasting in the Lord. But here it is important to see that when we commend ourselves by comparison to other people, we are not wise. Far from it. When we boast of matters using a worldly measure of success, we miss the mark. When we evaluate by a worldly standard, we fail miserably.
In our daily walk with Jesus, we must be careful about the way we evaluate things-- ourselves, our churches and our ministries. We must be careful about how we measure our growth with God and evaluate our walk with Him. Frankly, it is easy to evaluate by looking at other people or at the measure of the world. We can easily assume that we are amazing in our walk with God simply because we are not as bad as other people. But that is not the measure God uses.
Jesus pointed this out when He told of two men who went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Jesus said that it was the tax collector who went home justified before God. Jesus concluded that "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14)
Paul would not fall into that trap. Neither should we. No matter what God has done in us and through us, we are all sinners saved by grace. We are all in need of God's mercy. We all fall short of the glory of God and we need the wonderful work of His Spirit to transform us into the New Creation.
Have you been boasting lately? Thinking, even quietly, about how much better you are than others? Don't forget how much you need the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus.
Father God, forgive me for the times I have been haughty or boastful. Forgive me for the times I have judged others not realizing that I am as much in need of grace as they are. Give me a walk like the Apostle Paul, forever grateful for Your mercy and grace. In Jesus' Name.