|*this photo was taken from architectural details of the Chicago Art Institute by the author (rights reserved),|
the overlay was done using the vrsly app
Session 2 – Commending Ourselves
The title of today’s study seems, at first, a complete
oxymoron. How can we commend ourselves? Isn’t it by nature wrapped up in report
and reputation, which is bestowed by others?
True, and not true. Ha! His ways are not our ways, His
thoughts are not our thoughts, right?!
In the Epistles, we see a lot of commendation happening
between the brothers and sisters of the early church.
Let’s look at Romans 16:1-2:
to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of
the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a
way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for
she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.”
Phoebe, commended to the Romans by Paul. He asks that they
welcome her, help her, provide for her.
How about 2 Corinthians 8:23-24:
“As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for
your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of
the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love
and of our boasting about you to these men.” (Note: the uninspired heading
of this section is the Commendation of Titus.)
So we are definitely invited to give commendation to one
another in the church. When we know someone has a gift that can be utilized, or
will be a blessing to another church or on the mission field, we can commend
them and give a good report of them to those can bless.
But 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 gives us another vantage point, one
where commending ourselves is not outside the scope of God’s kingdom work:
“Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not
to receive the grace of God in vain. For he
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the
day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no
fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we
commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in
afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings,
imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy
Spirit, genuine love; by truthful
speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for
the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through
slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as
unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as
punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as
poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing
This verse tells us that we report the Faith to those around us,
we give a kind spirit to the faith when we
Now, that’s a lot of “are’s” or “be’s.” Don’t be afraid, sister,
of not living up. That isn’t the point. Our salvation is not wrapped up in our
ability to live faithfully. This passage is not about what we should do, it’s
about what life does look like.
As Christians, we should not be surprised by affliction. Jesus
tells us over and over that it’s going to be our reality this side of heaven.
But what this passage tells us in 2nd Corinthians, is that the
afflictions, the sorrow, the struggle, all of it, does have a message, a
commendation, for the world to see. He has a plan and a purpose and He WILL use
You are my commendation and I am yours, we live His message in and
through one another. Spurring one another on. Encouraging, building up. And the
message goes out. He who does this work is Faithful.
How has or does God specifically use you uniquely, as a
commendation of His work in this world? Thank you! Thank you for being you, and
Labels: faith, reputation, struggle