One more reason I really like the Apostle Paul…

21 Jan

It’s 2 Corinthians 10:12…

“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

How’s that for bluntness? Once you make heads or tails out of who’s measuring and comparing, it’s a really amusing picture. It’s this little endless loop, whirling and going nowhere.  I get a mental image of a bunch of ancient Greek orators scurrying aroud, patting each other on the back or thumbing their noses at each other. (And now you have a scary inside glance of how my brain works.)

Of course, no sooner do I take a moment to really enjoy that ridiculous image, than that beautiful, living, powerful two-edged sword suddenly feels a little sharp. And I realize that, more often than I would like, I can lump myself right on in with those ancient Greek orators. They’re not the only ones in history to engage in some fruitless self-comparison…

How easy is it to compare ourselves with ourselves (our little circle of friends)? We do it all the time. What we’re wearing. How we look physically. How spiritual we are or are not. How clever we are or are not. What kind of money we do or do not have. When these sort of things start nudging at our sense of worth and self-existence, something is seriously out of whack. Or as Paul would concisely say it, it’s just “not wise.”

That’s why the consistent standard Paul holds up is Jesus Christ (Php. 2:5 “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”, Eph 5:1 “be imitators of God”). When we really, truly look to Him, there’s no room for petty squabbles, no room to facilitate pride. The only response is humility and a steady walk, ever reaching towards holiness. And forget about navel-gazing… who can compare to God anyway? Meaningless introspection becomes rightly seen as frivolous as we fix our eyes on the One who is truly beautiful, truly wise, and truly worth emulating. We at once realize how small we are before Him, but how valuable we are to Him. What the other guy is doing or saying is suddenly much less important, because our focus is finally where it belongs–on Jesus, and Him alone.

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Posted by on January 21, 2007 in 2 Corinthians, Bible


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