Have you ever tried to define a word by using the same word to describe it? It doesn’t work. You can’t explain a term by comparing it with itself. For example, you can’t say, “Being proud is to be filled with pride.”

It’s also a fact that you can’t describe a word by making up your own definition. You may have fun, as our family sometimes does, making a game of trying to see who can come up with the funniest definition of an unknown word. But what a word means is what the dictionary says.

What is true of defining words is also true of evaluating one’s character. In 2 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul showed the foolishness of trying to judge our own character by our own opinions (vv.12-18). We would be wrong to evaluate ourselves by devising our own guidelines. We must use God’s line of measurement. He evaluates our lives by the standard of His unchanging character and purposes. What we are is what the Lord says we are.

As we take inventory of our lives and what we have done in the Lord’s service, let’s not be too quick to commend ourselves. The real test is whether we are those “whom the Lord commends” (v.18).