Who Do You Think You Are?

Michael Beck

“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Galatians 6:3)

What men thought of Paul once mattered a lot to him. He sought to impress his fellows by outward performances of piety and zeal. Jesus knew that such spiritual preening was the ruling principle at work in the Pharisees. “But all their works they do for to be seen of men…” (Matt. 23:5)

After Paul’s eyes were opened he would denounce his former vanity: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom. 2:28,29)

Our glory is not found in how mighty or wise or good we appear in the eyes of others. Neither is it found in how we see ourselves. We can think we’re “something,” when we’re nothing. What is our glory? “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23,24)

What is glorious in God’s sight is true intimacy with Him. He knows those who know Him. If they let their good works shine before men, it is not for their glory, it is so men may glorify the Father. Their labor is without self-consciousness – they don’t let their left hand know what their right hand is doing. (Matt. 6:3) Nothing is done with a view to win the praise of men; all is done out of love and obedience to the Lord. His reward is enough.

The disciples wanted more faith. Jesus told them to serve Him all the day long and then think of themselves as unprofitable servants who were only doing their duty. (Luke 17:5-10) Good and faithful servants only seek the “well done” of their Master. They don’t need the smiles and eyes of men upon them; nor do they admire themselves. If anything, they deem themselves nothing, and that is why they are something before God. It is also why they can patiently endure the despising and rejection of men.

Sugar is addicting; so is the desire to be seen and praised by men. Don’t make yourself sick in a quest for vain-glory. Live out a life that attracts the eyes of God.

“It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.” (Proverbs 25:27)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.