For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity, and godly wisdom, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:12
God is doing a work of humility in my heart. He is putting to death my selfish desires and purging my selfish heart. Like an onion, layer by layer He is revealing my utter dependence on Him for holiness and my utter helplessness that is in my flesh.
What is my boast? Paul’s boast was God’s testimony in him. God’s abounding grace, sincerity and purity given by the Spirit. How often I grasp for wind looking to place my boast in my fleshly wisdom. A huge thing the Lord is doing in my heart since coming to Guatemala is bringing His perfect Light to my raging desire for man’s approval and praise. Apart from Him, I wander around like a needy child starving for praise and recognition. That breaks my heart to even type out, because the richness of the glory of His grace on my life in undeniable. Yet I still crave man’s approval. I would say that my boast was in God’s grace, all the while searching for it from man. The root of this selfish desire is found in an identity crisis. My identity is sealed in the blood of Jesus, yet I try to find it in my abilities and talents. I am a New Creation in Christ, yet I try to create my own will and way. Instead of allowing the Spirit of Christ to transform me into the same image from one degree of glory for another, I strive to become what I believe is admirable. But thanks be to God! I am overjoyed that He is convicting and bringing these sins and roots of unbelief to Light, because His Light is irresistible. He is purging and molding and shaping. He is taking out the Emily in the flesh and producing an eternal weight of glory that is impossible apart from His Spirit.
Earlier in 2 Corinthians 1 Paul wrote “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But it was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead”. While Paul’s sufferings were of a much difference sort, I take hold to His words in the last part of the verse. This lesson that God is molding in my heart is to make me rely not on myself, but on God who raises the dead. Bringing this idol of approval to Him and surrendering it at His feet is so freeing as I let go of self reliance and rely fully on God. It’s a beautiful thing to walk in the boast and confidence of God, rather than trying to white knuckle it and boast in myself. Family, let us walk in the Light as He is in the Light. When we do so, He naturally brings to the surface the lies that are not from Him and transforms them by the power of His beautiful gospel. We have such a beautiful life in Him.
Application: As I continue to surrender this idol of approval to God, I will rest more and more in the identity in Christ that He has given me. I have talked about this testimony with many of the girls here and my application is to continue to do so. To continue to confess and repent when I look for man’s praise and continue to rejoice over Christ’s victory in my life.