“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you” (2 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV).
“There is no limit to a man’s high opinion of himself, so long as he measures himself by himself.” (1)
One issue involving the false apostles within the Corinthian church involved the standard of measurement they used to gauge themselves and their work. You see, a measurement is only as accurate as the standard one employs- and those who “use themselves to measure themselves” (NCV) are likely to end with an inaccurate evaluation.
This idea forms a recurring theme within the Biblical book of Proverbs…
“All of a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates the motives” (Proverbs 21:2 NET).
“You may believe you are doing right, but the Lord will judge your reasons” (Proverbs 16:2 NCV).
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV).
Since these “leaders” within the Corinthian church failed to keep their eyes on the road that God had established for their lives, they deviated to a path they had not been authorized to travel. Unfortunately, we can fall into a similar error today if we allow “what I want” to supersede “what God wants for me.” The issue is this: something that seems good may not be good if it lies outside God’s agenda for our lives.
Remember that Moses wanted to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land but was not permitted to do so. King David sought to build a Temple in Israel but was not allowed to construct it. Paul the Apostle wanted to be released from an unspecified physical ailment he will later describe as “a thorn in the flesh” but God did not agree to it. These examples represented good things that would have been wrong for those individuals if they had pursued them.
This does not mean we can’t step forward in a venture of faith in those areas where God has called us. However, it does mean that we should measure ourselves by how closely we adhere to God’s agenda. In the words of 2 Corinthians 10:13, “…Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us…” (TLB) and we’ll consider some strategies that can help us discover God’s plan for our lives next.
(1) Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. “Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:13”. “Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-corinthians-10.html. 1871-8.