2 Cor. 10:17-18
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Pride can be a crippling and alienating thing. It can drive us to devote all of our time and energy to accomplishing that one thing about which we can boast, the thing that sets us apart from the rest and elevates us above them. In that drive to stand out, we can lose sight of many valuable things in our lives, such as relationships. No wonder we have heard it said that it is lonely at the top. But after the dust settles, what have I gained if I sacrifice everything for the sake of making a name for myself? Even if that name stands for generations, it will not stand forever, and that renown will one day be forgotten.
Where worldly pride focuses on the temporary man and will fade into nothingness with time, godly pride focuses on our Lord and lasts eternally. In today’s passage, Paul tells the Church that the only boasting that should be done by a believer is boasting in the Lord. This is because the great work that Jesus has accomplished for us is incomparable. No one could ever take pride in his accomplishments while standing in the shadow of Christ. All the good deeds and wondrous discoveries of the whole of mankind for all time put together still pale in comparison to the saving work of Jesus. And once we are saved, we cannot boast in our wisdom at making the decision to follow Jesus Christ. After all, it is He who first draws us near [Eph. 1:3-7; 1 John 4:19].
When we exchange worldly pride in ourselves for godly pride in the Lord, we unburden ourselves of the pressure to be thought of as great by others. As Paul states here, it is commendation by God himself that deems us approved. Commendation by man can do no such thing. And if we accomplish great things in this life on this earth, we can only give God the glory for his blessings of ability and opportunity. Apart from our Savior, we can do nothing [John 15:5]. Father, crush the worldly and self-centered pride that remains within us, and increase our pride in your Son and his saving work, that You may delight in our boasting in that great work.