Who is Your Standard
Category : General
2 Corinthians 10: 12 (KJV)
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
“The value of a comparison depends on the standard”
Paul’s just charge, which he brings in against the false apostles, for their pride and vanity, in commending themselves: and comparing themselves with such as were like themselves: The measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves amongst themselves, are not wise. The reason why many think themselves wiser than they are, is, because they compare themselves with these that are below themselves, and not above them in understanding and knowledge.
Whitby and Clarke suppose that this means that they compare themselves with each other; and that they made the false apostles particularly their standard. Doddridge, Grotius, Bloomfield, and some others suppose the sense to be, that they made themselves the standard of excellence. They looked continually on their own accomplishments, and did not look at the excellencies of others. They thus formed a disproportionate opinion of themselves, and undervalued all others. Paul says that he had not boldness enough for that. It required a moral courage to which he could lay no claim.
It is an excellent mean to keep us from pride, to consider how many are above us in knowledge: and there are thousands so much excelling us in understanding, that our knowledge is but ignorance, our strength but weakness, our faith but unbelief, our fruitfulness but barrenness, compared with theirs. As the pride and vanity of the false apostles, so the great modesty and humility of Paul, the true apostle of Christ Jesus: but we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure which God has distribute to us.
And while they, measuring themselves by themselves, it is important to note that they are not sent of God; they are not inspired by his Spirit; therefore, they have no rule to think or act by. They are also full of pride and self-conceit; they look within themselves for accomplishments which their self-love will soon find out; for to it real and fictitious are the same. As they dare not compare themselves with the true apostles of Christ, they compare themselves with each other; and, as they have no perfect standard, they can have no excellence; nor can they ever attain true wisdom, which is not to be had from looking at what we are but to what we should be; and if without a directory, what we should be will never appear, and consequently our ignorance must continue.
The sense of Paul is, that they made themselves the standard of excellence; that they were satisfied with their own attainments; and that they overlooked the superior excellence and attainments of others. This is a graphic description of pride and self-complacency; and it is what is often exhibited. How many there are, and it is to be feared even among professing Christians, who have no other standard of excellence than themselves. Their views are the standard of orthodoxy; their modes of worship are the standard of the proper manner of devotion; their habits and customs are in their own estimation perfect; and their own characters are the models of excellence, and they see little or no excellence in those who differ from them. They look on themselves as the true measure of orthodoxy, humility, zeal, and piety; and they condemn all others, however excellent they may be, who differ from them.
Let us bring this question of comparison to the testing of character. We compare ourselves with others and say, “I am as good as ordinary Christians.” What is wanted is not just “ordinary Christians.” We ought each to pray with Wesley, “Lord, make me an extraordinary Christian.” Average Christians comparing themselves with average Christians may think they are about right.
Also let this serve for testing the measure of our zeal and consecration in God’s service. As to work. Do you compare yourself with others? Are you ever tempted to say, “I do as much as my neighbor; I do not like to push myself forward; I never like to seem to take the lead!” Such feelings are born purely of a tendency to compare ourselves among ourselves. Let us try to be of the utmost use in the world. Jehovah God is our standard not man, no matter who he may be!
Have a Great and God filled Day