Offering for Jerusalem church, warning against false teachers; Paul's thorn in the flesh.
For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth (II Cor. 10:18).
It is natural to want to be accepted and liked by friends and associates. Many people attempt to achieve this acceptance by the clothes they wear, the automobile they drive, or other status symbols, such as being a member of an exclusive club. This is a great trap that many in today's society fall into. You and I are created by an Almighty God. He knows all things. He made us in His likeness. To allow the pressure of desiring acceptance to change us is a subtle spiritual trap. If you need a role model, Jesus is there. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps (I Pet. 2:21).
Christians are sometimes guilty of seeking recognition through teaching or other displays of their abilities to serve the Lord. Even public prayer can be offered to impress people. We don't need to impress people in our service to God. This makes all we do for Him in vain. We should be doing it for God's glory. That should be our goal. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
Sometimes the self-righteous attempt to build their spiritual image by downgrading the motives and actions of another. In reality, they are seeking the praise for themselves. By seeking the praise of men, many forfeit the Lord's approval, the only approval that really matters. Jesus said How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:44). Everything depends upon motives that are hidden away from human view. Always remember, God is the searcher of hearts. He knows our motives for all things. He knows when they are godly and when we seek to fulfill our flesh. God will reveal our motives. We need to humble ourselves before Him and seek to fulfill His will for our lives and not our own. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
The person whom the Lord commends is the one who realizes that all self-honor is vain and worthless. He sincerely and humbly wants Christ alone to receive all the honor and praise. He uses every chance he gets to lift up the name of the Lord. He seeks no praise for himself. When it is given, he does his best to redirect it towards Jesus.
But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (II Cor. 10:17).
Thought for Today:
Our willingness to give reveals the condition of our hearts.
For II Cor. 6:2: See Is. 49:8. II Cor. 6:16: See Lev. 26:11-12; Ezek. 37:27. II Cor. 6:17: See Is. 52:11. II Cor. 8:15: See Ex. 16:18.
5:5 wrought, prepared; 5:13 beside ourselves, insane; sober, of sound mind; 6:5 In stripes, Having been beaten; tumults, riots; 6:6 unfeigned, genuine; 6:12 Ye are not straitened in us, our love toward you is not restrained; bowels, emotions; 6:13 for a recompence in the same, in return for our love; be ye also enlarged, open your hearts to us; 7:9 that ye might receive damage by us in nothing, that you not be offended in what we did or did not say; 7:10 carefulness, diligence, seriousness; 8:1 we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on, we want you to know what the grace of God has accomplished in; 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, urging us insistently to allow them the privilege of meeting our needs; 8:7 abound, excel; 8:8 forwardness, earnestness.
Pray for Staff: Becca Lucio • International Broadcasts • Government Officials: Sec'y. Janet Napolitano (Dept. of Homeland Security) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH) • Country: Guinea (8 million) on the Atlantic coast of western Africa • Major languages: French and tribal languages • Freedom for nationals, but strict limitations on missionaries • 83% Muslim; 12% tribal religions; 4% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Express your gratitude for the loving-kindness of God (Jer. 32:17-18).
Memory Verse for the Week: Titus 2:14