It is natural for us to want to praise something. Unfortunately, most of the time this desire to praise something causes us to praise ourselves; we lift ourselves up while putting others down. This praise instead needs to be directed to Jesus, making Him great and making less of ourselves. However, we can also use this desire to praise to lift up and encourage our fellow believers. Paul understood the dangers of boasting about himself when speaking in 2 Corinthians chapter 12. Now I am going to be honest, the first couple of verses in this chapter are pretty confusing. I think it would take much more than a 500-word devotion to unpack all that is being said.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-5, we read, “I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast.”
As I said, there is a lot to understand here, we can all agree though that it sounds like a pretty incredible experience that this man has. I want to focus on what Paul says in verse 5, “On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast.” This is the mindset that I want us all to start having. We can do so much good for the Kingdom of God if we started boasting about what other believers are doing. Now, I do not mean worshipping people or putting a pastor on the same level as the Lord. There is extreme danger in having that perspective. What I mean is talking positively about people. Instead of gossiping about how someone is struggling, share the good things that you have heard.
There are so many believers trying to do incredible things for the Lord and they need our encouragement. Also, when I hear about something another believer is doing for the Lord, it encourages me to seek even more after the Lord. When we boast in another believer, we ultimately are glorifying the Lord by telling people how God has been using one of His disciples! We need to talk less about ourselves and more about what the Lord is doing through His people.