Friday, October 28, 2011

Proverbs 27:2 commentary; don't praise yourself

2 ¶ Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

In the part of the Bible written to Christians for doctrine by Paul under the wisdom given to Him by God (2 Peter 3:15), given by inspiration from God (Job 32:8; 2 Timothy 3:16), with understanding which is synonymous with wisdom as something that goes hand in hand with it (Job 39:17; Proverbs 2:6), it says this;

2Corinthians 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

All self praise and boasting are trash. Let your work be such that others may praise you but do not extol yourself. All glory is to the Lord anyway. We have heard this self praise time and time again and often mistake such boasting as confidence when actually the person is merely trying to convince himself that what he has done is great or sell you on what he or she has done. As with the arrogant and proud what we are really looking at and hearing is a weak, little person trying to convince others of how important they are.

Matthew Henry includes in his commentary the Latin saying; “Proprio laus sordet in ore—Self-praise defiles the mouth.”

We know Christians who brag about everything from their church attendance to how well they’ve raised their children and yet, those of us who actually believe the Bible know that it is only God’s mercy and grace that has given them both the ability to attend church and the blessing of a well behaved child. In fact, most of the people who brag about their child rearing ability, those who boast about it, did not raise their children with daily devotions, Bible reading, and prayer. But God was merciful.

And yet, we brag. If I hear one more “I’ve always tried to do the right thing,” I might just scream. No, you haven’t. You’re human. Most often you choose to do the wrong thing and in most of your decisions you did not seek God’s counsel anyway. Stop praising yourself and get on your knees and praise a most merciful and gracious Creator and Sustainer for the fact that your sexual morals, your tendency to substance abuse, and your life of self worship as a young person didn’t result in your early death and that you are even conscious and not on life support or, worse, on death row.

It is not fitting for a Christian not to give God all the glory and to praise his own efforts at all. It’s also probably not fitting for them to glorify in others who do praise themselves whether it be the football player who dances in the end zone or the fighter who climbs on the ring ropes with his arms upraised for his own glory. These types of things were rarely tolerated in sports before 1950, in any event.

So, Christian, seek God’s approval but don’t engage in self praise. You’re probably just a legend in your own mind, anyway.

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