2 Corinthians 10:7-18 – Boast in the Lord

Read 2 Corinthians 10:7-18

We’ve all seen people who are so full of themselves and their own agendas they are almost repelling. You are probably picturing someone you know right now! Those people haven’t read this passage, or if they have, they don’t see how it should be speaking to them. They are only comparing themselves to each other. That is a limitation to be sure, and it doesn’t make for an attractive character. Do you think?

We can boast all we want, so long as those boasts are about God and how he is working in the world. Better yet, how he is working in our own lives! His authority trumps all else. When we are fortunate enough to be touched by God’s grace, we can’t help but want to share. Yet sometimes we don’t, afraid of what people may say or think. It’s seems to be so much easier to share about a good restaurant meal, a funny movie, a comfortable pair of shoes. Why is that?

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Proverbs 27:1-16 – No Bragging Allowed

Read Proverbs 27:1-16

The nuggets of wisdom continue. I’m sure if I read this same passage a week from now a different proverb would speak to me. But for this reflection let’s look at verse 2. It says, “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips.” I have always struggled with tooting my own horn. It’s also hard for me to accept praise from others. What about you?

Do you have a hard time accepting compliments or praise? We all know people who don’t seem to have any trouble telling others how awesome they are. In fact, you may even be picturing a few of them this very moment. It’s not attractive is it? When we see others applauding their own success it can be intimidating, too. It’s much more acceptable when another person is praising them for their good deeds.

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James 4:13-17 – Say What?

Read  James 4:13-17

This passage fits nicely with the one about taming our tongue. We need to be careful what we say and how we say it. Here we are being reminded of letting pride take over and not being mindful of God, the one who is truly in charge.

We should above all else trust God for his leading in our lives. While it is good to make plans, it is imperative that these plans are in God’s will for us. Each time we recite the Lord’s prayer, we ask, “Thy will be done”. Don’t let these words be just words.

I don’t know about you, but over the years I have had many a good idea and forged ahead to make it happen. I’m sure there were times when I didn’t consult God for his wisdom and stamp of approval first. Not surprising, those are the plans that failed or backfired. They certainly didn’t turn out like I had hoped or planned.

Why is it so easy for us to try to take matters into our own hands? Why do we often forget the crucial piece – a conversation with God?

I’ve seen it happen in churches, too. When we try to force our agendas, programs never seem to get off the ground, much less thrive. On the other hand, when we seek God’s wisdom in the planning process and all agree that it’s God’s will, planning and implementation seem to fall into place without a hitch.

The verse that should really hit home for us here is verse 17. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” We should be intentional in asking God to reveal his will for us. We should keep our minds and hearts open for his response, especially if it isn’t what we want to hear. And, we should be ready to jump and act on what God wants us to do. This is a sin we can control. We can act in the way God wants and avoid sin.

Remember, God will never ask us to do something that is harmful or bad. God’s plans are for good. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  I don’t know about you, but I rest in the joy and hope this verse provides.

Let’s pray. Father God, thank you for your daily provision. As I reflect on the choices I have made in my life I can clearly see the ones you would not have had me make. But thank you, Lord, for making beauty out of my mess. Thank you for lifting me out of despair and loving me despite my wrong choices. I ask for your forgiveness continually for those offenses, yet I know you have long since forgiven me. My heart sings to know that you have redeemed me. I look to you now for each decision, no matter how small. Thank you that you are using me in new ways each day. I don’t want another minute to go by that I am not living deep within your will for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.