But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. – 2Cor. 10:17-18 KJV
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The Apostle Paul may not have anticipated that the task of maintaining peace and unity amongst the brethren, in the Churches that he had the Grace to establish, was going to be more daunting than spreading the Gospel and winning souls into the kingdom of God, but that turned out to be the reality. There was hardly any of the congregations that he had the grace to establish, that did not experience one form of turbulence or the other, caused mainly by people who arrived after the establishment of those congregations and his departure, and convinced the brethren with a gospel that countered what he had presented to them as a foundation for their new belief. Had that being the only challenge, it would probably have not been as daunting, but the fact that the same people whom he birthed into the faith turned out to be the ones to question his authority over doctrinal matters, which he it was, that was used by Jehovah to introduce to them must have been really frustrating for him.
This is mostly the result of the evangelism activities of these strange people, whom he described in his letter to the Galatians as “yeasts in the batch of dough”, and which ended up polluting a sanctified group and individuals with negative doctrines and stories – Gal. 5:9-15. The same was the case with the Church in Corinth where he could not resolve the disagreement amongst the brethren, caused by these same divisive elements, because the brethren there challenged his authority to play such role in a congregation that God used him to establish. It must have gotten really bad as he found himself having to defend himself against what seemed like a subtle accusation of his attempt at being domineering, letting them know that he had no intention of lording his views over them. He however never stopped letting them know what amount of sacrifice he had made to establish those congregations wondering why anyone would undermine his efforts or attempt to render insignificant, all his efforts at growing the numerical strength of God’s kingdom on earth, especially when comparing him to those whom they wish to classify as super apostles – 2Cor. 6-13; 10:1-12:10. Realising that he was allowing these demeaning acts on his person to frustrate and make him lose his self control, he appealed that he should be allowed to display some foolishness, which he claims was the result of his godly jealousy to have them presented to God as pure virgins – 2Cor. 11:1-2.
Yes! Foolishness because he was not unaware that he was better off with the commendation he will get from the Lord rather than allowing the expected but unfulfilled commendation from men to frustrate him that much. In the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, he makes it clear to all that, though there may be the need for him to boast sometimes about efforts and achievements, it should not be in comparison to what God has achieved through others, but such boasting must be done in what the Lord has used him to achieve – 2Cor. 10:12-16. This is because that is the boasting that can receive commendation from the Lord, as commending himself, which is what boasting is, will not be a proof that he or anyone who indulges in such act has received the approval of the Almighty God, and that should be of utmost objective of every Christian.
Like the Apostle Paul, most Christians today are working hard for the cause of the kingdom, but rather than get the recognition and commendation of the human beneficiaries of such hard work, they are actually demeaned and sometimes ridiculed. The tendency is for any one who is human to feel bad about such reactions and consequently want to recall all that has been done to justify the demand for recognition and approval, but the Apostle Paul makes it clear in today’s scripture that
- That such human actions and demands indicate foolishness on the part of the one who is in expectation of such human glorification – 2Cor. 11:1.
- That commendations received from men or given to oneself will not necessarily mean that such has the approval of the Almighty God – 2Cor. 10:18.
- That such should work more towards receiving the approval of God, which will only result from receiving His commendation with regards to all those human efforts that one may want to boast about.
To boast in the Lord
- Is to be sure that all that is being boasted about are achievements that were accomplished because the Lord desired them to be accomplished and not what the individual wanted. It simply has to be the Will of God, no matter how human beings consider the gesture.
- Is to accept that He is the only one that will assess the success or otherwise of the so called achievements. Until he declares the objective fulfilled, no one can make such proclamations or operate in such belief, as He only knows the entire scope and the approved modus operandi for the implementation of the task. For Him, success is not just about fulfilling the objective, as He is equally interested in how the objective was fulfilled – Jer. 7:9-12.
- Is to sincerely accept and openly acknowledge that all the effort deployed into achieving the success in reference belongs to Jehovah. Simply put, He only is deserving of all the glory for the achievement.
- Is to acknowledge that He only is the rewarder of such efforts and will surely do so if He finds the task to have been successfully achieved. To look in any other direction is to believe that Jehovah is not the one to whom such reports to. Remuneration and reward should only be expected from Him who it is that set one aside for the task. He only has all the rewards in his possession – Rev. 22:12.
The one who acknowledges all the above is the one that will not be frustrated by the lack of commendations and approvals from fellow men. May God help us see Him as the only relevant personality that is worthy of assessing our works and may He find them worthy of commendation and approval in Jesus name. Amen.