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he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians
is common for all of us to seek approval for our actions. As children, we
longed for the affirmation of our parents. As we grew older, we also valued the
opinions of our friends, colleagues, and employers. At times, the esteem of
others can claim such importance that it becomes our way to measure our worth
as a person. Paul said that he was not striving to obtain the approval of
people. Some of his critics thought their criticisms could determine what he
did. Yet these same people were praising themselves for their own opinions and
behavior. They were seeking the approval of others, and they were receiving it.
said that those who seek to gain the approval of others “have their own reward”
(Matt. 6:2–5). Paul, too, realized that achieving the praise of others is not
difficult, but earning God’s approval is a far greater accomplishment. The
affirmation “Well done!” that Jesus received from the Father became Paul’s goal
as well (2 Tim. 2:3–5). Paul knew that self-approval is not hard to attain.
Paul himself had once been pleased with his own life, until he came to realize
that the righteousness he was so proud of was mere rubbish in the kingdom of
God (Phil. 3:8). After his conversion, Paul understood that God’s evaluation of
his actions was what mattered, not his own opinion of himself.
opinion matters most to you? Have you become complacent, enjoying the approval
of those around you? Have you become satisfied with your estimation of the way
you are living? The commendation that matters most is the one that comes from
God. The pleasure that your life gives to God should be your motivation to live