Laying Down Self From The Inside-Out, Not The Outside-In

love-shoes“For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.” – 2 Corinthians 5:12

Paul certainly had a way with words. He acquired a way of saying the most abased things with humility, care, and honesty. What Paul was trying to get across to the Corinthians in this verse, was how to cause conviction upon the vain for their prideful, pointless, and selfish actions by giving them a better example through you’re own actions all while hoping that the recipients of the message would get the point themselves and be convicted.

In this passage he states that, he and his other ministers do not commend themselves but rather labor to give reason for others to speak well of them that they might be able to un-hypocritically give response to, correct, and teach those who love vain glory and act selfishly. That is to say, those who care about how others see them outwardly (in appearance, prestige, title, pomp, possessions, position, and preeminence) rather then how people see them inwardly (showing forth true selflessness, humility, love, gentleness, compassion, patience, kindness, servanthood, and all manner of righteousness through meekness, baring all the good fruits of the spirit).

“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” – Proverbs 27:2

However he is not primarily referring to the love of vain glory here but even more so of those who appear outwardly to rejoice and glory in God and His people but inwardly are dry and without life or the joy of the Lord. Inside they are cold, jealous, and bitter as dead men’s bones, not rejoicing in their hearts over the blessing of the love and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the teaching of the word, the spreading of the gospel, or the saving of a soul.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” – Ephesians 4:1-2

Let us never miss an opportunity to lift an other up being joyful for them in word, deed, and heart. Let us have the mind of Christ that would lay aside all selfishness, laziness, or jealousy and rejoice on their behalf, not just in appearance but truthfully in our heart, for God sees and tries the hearts of men and there is nothing hidden from His sight.

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah 17:10

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:22-26

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” – Hebrews 4:12-14

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10-15

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