2 Corinthians 10:18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could walk into a bank and tell them, “I am applying for a loan and I am approving that loan, so hand over the money.” Well, I guess bank robbers do this sort of thing, but they probably don’t have plans to pay it back. But what an impossible thought, really, to approve your own loan. I am sure that bankers have been fired over such things. Nobody gets to approve their own loan.
But we try to make it happen in other areas of life, don’t we? We try to be our own approval. We pat ourselves on the back and congratulate on a job well done. It backfires though. There’s the teenage girl who’s fashion statement is a hit in her own mind and a train wreck in reality. There is the boy who is an all star baseball player in his head but he can’t catch a ball to save his life. This is what happens to us – a jaded view of reality based on our own self confidence.
Or what about American Idol? Why do tone deaf kids believe that they are the next American Idol? They really believe it too. “I am the next American Idol,” they proudly proclaim. But when they open their mouths, you hear the sound of a cat screeching or a sick cow dying a slow painful death. It’s unfortunate really that no one in their life has ever told them the truth. We can’t just go around commending ourselves without the goods to back it up.
That’s essentially what I think Paul is getting at. The Lord alone is the one who commends us. He is to be our approval. Patting yourself on the back for all the good things you’ve done doesn’t translate into approval. God is the one who approves. You need to go to Him for that approval. Because his commendation is the only one that has real approval wrapped up in it. Us telling ourselves that we aren’t that bad isn’t going to cut it. Spending time with Him and hearing His heart for us is. It is in those moments with Him that you will hear Him say, “well done.” Now that’s real approval.