Monday, November 7, 2011

2 Corinthians 10:17-18

'But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord.For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends."

Are you a self-promoter? Is the praise of men a priority to you? Do others know of your works more than they should? The self promoting Christian proclaims to the world that there is something in which to boast other than Christ.  Effective self promotion will often accomplish that for which it was intended which is the world's affection, attention, and praise.  However, the boastful Christian would do well to compare temporal glory with eternal reward prior to seeking the former as he forfeits the latter.  Jesus spoke of this as recorded in Matthew: ""Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." (6:1-2)  In the same way Esau sold his birth right for a swallow of stew in a moment of hunger so does the boastful Christian exchange eternal glory for worldly commendation. 

Consider king Belshazzar's worldly praise and Daniel's response when called to interpret the handwriting on the wall.  Belshazzar rightfully recognized Daniel's unique ability to solve problems and interpret that which none of the diviners or magicians could understand, however the king displayed his ignorance regarding the source of Daniel's special abilities (5:16). Had Daniel sought worldly status it was his for the taking.  He had the opportunity to accept the king's praises and receive the king's promotion to the third highest position in the most powerful empire in the world.  Daniel could have boasted in his own superior abilities in order to further enhance his stature.  However Daniel's boast was not in his abilities nor did he desire worldly fame for his boast was in the Lord and his desire was God's glory: "Then Daniel answered and said before the king, "Keep your gifts for yourself or give your rewards to someone else (5:17)...."O king, the Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father (5:18).....but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; ..... But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified (5:23).  How focused Daniel was on the glory of God that he would be so bold as to inform the king where his sovereignty came from and scold him for not recognizing it.  Daniel was pre-occupied with the glory of God to the exclusion of worldly praise and fame. 

Approach each passing moment with the following motivation: "how can God be glorified by my circumstances"?  Place a higher priority on having God rather than yourself on the minds of others. Seek to serve others that you may have opportunities to be a witness for the Gospel rather than that you may receive praise or advancement. Ensure that your idle thoughts veer toward prayer rather than scheme.  Practice righteousness not for the purpose of being noticed by man but that God be glorified.  Love others not superficially for the purpose of gain but genuinely that they may better understand God's love for them.  Utilize opportunities for boasting that you may boast in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31).  Refrain from selfishness and regard the needs and wants of others as more important than your own (Phil 2:3).  Such emphasis on the priorities of God will enable you to draw nearer to Him.

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