Paul had been goaded into boasting. The Jewish "super-apostles," because of their heritage, education, and oratorical skills, captured the attention and admiration of the Corinthian believers. The problem was, their lives didn't match their teaching and Paul knew there was heartbreak ahead as the Corinthians fed on flowery words and boastful oratory, while their souls starved for the milk and meat of God's word.
So Paul boasted on himself. When our credibility, our accomplishments, or our status is challenged or unfavorably compared, it's hard not to react defensively with a little bragging of our own. But Paul boasted of his sacrifice and suffering, and not of his Jewish heritage, his education, or his popularity.
Sometimes we want to say, "I'm just as good as you! In fact, I'm better!" Sometimes we want to say, "I work harder than anyone around here! It's time somebody noticed that I get there earlier, stay later, and work harder than the lot of you!" Sometimes we want to say, "Nobody, and I mean nobody, has sacrificed and suffered like I have. See these scars? It's time I had a little recognition for my pain!"
Paul said, "That kind of thinking is spiritual quicksand. I'm not going to get caught up in a boasting competition. When I suffer and don't make a martyr of myself, I become a little more like Jesus, for whom I'm suffering. When I work hard and don't care if people notice, it changes me for the better. When I don't care who gets the credit for success, I experience a fellowship with Jesus that I can't get any other way."
Father, Please forgive me for the times I've compared myself and my achievements with others. I know that whether I come out favorably or unfavorably in such comparisons, I lose. I don't want to have to learn the hard way how silly it is to compare myself with others and crave recognition. I purpose to serve with joy and to do my best to keep my mouth shut and my heart open. Please make it so. Amen!
If I Boast
Reading: 2 Corinthians 11; Psalm 36
If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. (2 Corinthians 11:30 NLT)
Wed, August 12, 2015 @ 1:01 PM
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