Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
Talk is cheap. Boasting is worthless. Your history is irrelevant. True character is known by present actions and results, not by self-praise, past events, explanations, or excuses (Pr 20:11). Yet fools talk more than wise men (Pr 14:33; 29:11), and sluggards talk more than hard workers (Pr 26:16). Most men love themselves and will quickly tell how gifted and faithful they are, but real performers as measured by the Bible are very rare.
Talk is cheap. What you think about yourself is deceiving and destructive (Pr 12:15; 14:12; 16:2,25; 21:2; Jer 17:9). But what you say about yourself is worse (Pr 14:3; 25:14; 27:1; Eccl 10:11-14; Jas 3:5). Neither God nor men care about your opinion, and especially when it is about yourself. If you must tell others you are good at something, then there must be lack of evidence to prove it, or why would you say it? Testimonials are stupid enough for promoting new products, but they are ridiculous about yourself!
Men have long loved the damning sins of arrogance, boasting, conceit, pride, self-love, and self-esteem. But today these destructive evils are glorified in popular athletes and arrogant entertainers and promoted as cures for most psychological or relational problems. Self-esteem theories are adored, though they merely whitewash sins of conceit and selfishness. Humanistic psychologists have always been deluded, but when so-called Christian leaders promote this narcissistic view of life, truth is in peril (II Tim 3:1-5).
In a day of advertising, mass marketing, and public relations, there is a perverse emphasis on appearance over performance, on perception over reality, on sound bites over substance, on feelings over facts. Due to constant communication via telephone, the Internet, television, radio, email, and texting, there is a perverse emphasis on words over actions. This distortion has created a situation where boasting is accepted over results.
Yet today there are few faithful men that will do what they should (Ps 12:1; II Tim 3:13). Athletes brag about abilities and accomplishments, and politicians claim to be near divine in what they promise to do. Great men do not need to promote themselves, because others will do it for them. Great men never stoop to self-praise; their praise comes from others (Pr 27:2). If other men do not praise you for greatness, there is an obvious reason.
Where is the humility of Solomon? As king of Israel and the well-favored son of David, he admitted he was a little child in understanding (I Kgs 3:5-9). God loved this confession, and so do wise men reading it. Where is the humility of Paul? Though the greatest of the apostles, he admitted he was less than the least of all saints (Eph 3:8). Where is the humility of Agur? As the author of Proverbs chapter 30, he admitted his ignorance (Pr 30:1-4). These three great men did not praise themselves; we praise them.
Do not tell about your job performance. Let a promotion tell it. Do not brag about your great marriage. Let your spouse spread it. Do not tell about your personal holiness. Let your fruits and persecution prove it. Do not tell about your charity and kindness to others. Let your number of devoted friends be the measure. Do not tell how much you can be trusted. Let your credit score tell the truth. Do not tell how much you fear and love God. Let your changed life and the testimony of others prove it (I Thess 1:6-10; I John 2:4).
Reader, stop talking about yourself. Show your great character to God and men by your actions. James ridiculed Christianity based on mere faith, which is more than the carnal decisions most evangelists solicit today (Jas 2:14-26). He exalted works as being superior to faith as the evidence of knowing God and obtaining His approval. Jesus, Paul, and Peter taught the same conduct-based doctrine (Matt 7:21; II Cor 5:9-11; II Pet 1:5-12).
Self-righteousness is one of the most damning sins of all. Once infected, how will you be healed? You do not know you are diseased. Whose rebuke will you accept? You have assured yourself that your standing before God is excellent (Luke 18:9-14). Listen to Jesus Christ. He said to the most conservative and respected religious leaders of His day, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
You will soon give an account of your life to God, and then the truth will be known. Your words of self-praise and self-justification will be just more marks against you. Prepare to meet thy God. Jesus Christ, the Blessed and Only Potentate, will judge you for your words and actions (Matt 12:34-37). He gave you warning that it would be better to have bad words and good performance than good words and bad performance (Matt 21:28-33).
Many ministers promote themselves more than they promote Jesus Christ. They call their ministries after their own names, and they cultivate sycophants to keep their respective personality cults thriving. Read the dust jackets of the books they write! But the Lord Jesus Christ will humble them in an instant of time, just before they are cast into hell. He will say to these self-praising success stories, “I never knew you,” (Matt 7:21-23).
Reader, are you well known for faithful actions and results that match God’s word? Or do you have to help people out by giving them verbal hints or explanations as to how faithful you are? Forget the talk! Measure yourself only by action, performance, consistency, and results; focus on the actions God’s word makes important, and do them only for His glory. May the Lord bless you to be one of the rare faithful ones in this generation.