2Co 10:17-18 “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
It is in our human nature to boast of ourselves. We want our accomplishments recognized, even if it is just for being the toughest guy in the neighborhood. If others will not give us our due, then we feel compelled to blow our own horn. Jesus Himself taught us that this was not an acceptable practice in His sight (Matthew 6:2).
My father and I are both ministers by God’s grace. I recall hearing someone say to my grandfather on one occasion “Brother Steve, I know you are proud of your son and grandson.” My grandfather’s answer was, “I trust I am thankful.” I noted many times over the years his refusal to use the word “proud” because he felt it sounded like boasting. He resisted boasting of himself and his family so that God would receive the glory.
A humble spirit does not spring from our carnal nature. The prophet Micah tells us that it is God who has shown us what is good. As a result we are expected “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with our God (Micah 6:8). Throughout Paul’s writings, he has born testimony of this truth.
We are well aware of the interpretation of the word “glorieth” and “glory” as used here to mean boasting. The word can also imply joy and rejoicing. The only source for any boast on our part, for any true joy in our lives, and for any rejoicing is in the Lord. Even when we have accomplished some goal in life, it is fitting for us to recognize that our strength and ability come from God.
Many of us have had some experience with having a letter of commendation written for us. It may have come from a teacher or former employer. The letter is a means of having our accomplishments introduced in a way that does not require us to boast of ourselves. Very few people would be impressed by a commendation that we had written for ourselves about ourselves.
It is not acceptable for us to commend ourselves. Paul was very careful to always point to God as the driving force behind his ministry. The fruit of his ministry in the hearts of God’s people was often Paul’s “letter of commendation” to others. Even then, that fruit was always presented in a manner that put the focus on God and not on Paul.
Ultimately, it is not what men think of us that is important. It is not what we think of ourselves that is important. Carnal approval is not a real commendation of our thoughts or deeds. What matters is that we have the commendation of God through the Holy Spirit.
May our boast, our joy, and our rejoicing be always in the Lord!