|<![if !vml]><![endif]><![if !vml]><![endif]>
Proverbs 20:6, Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
Luke records that the Pharisee proclaimed his own goodness to a god whom he thought was listening but he was only telling himself what he believed about himself.
He stood and prayed: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
He prayed thus with himself but by his actions of life I expect he proclaimed his goodness to fellow Pharisees.
The church member thinks likewise in his mind: I did such a good job on that church project but again I was in the background and as usual nobody noticed.
What can I quietly and unobtrusively do so that someone, perhaps the Pastor, will notice.
Perhaps I can be doing something on the project while others pass by and observe my dedication.
Maybe I'll mention how tired I am and then someone will ask why.
That will give me an opening to proclaim my goodness without appearing to proclaim my goodness.
If I don't somehow mention my goodness nobody will.
Why am I doing all this work if someone won't take notice?
Now what is the problem here?
Why does the Pharisee and the church member desire to proclaim their goodness.
Could it be that they both think more highly of themselves than they ought?
Could it be that their opinion of themselves far exceeds the opinion that other folks have of them?
Could it be that they desire that the opinion of other men match their own opinion of themselves?
Don't other men need help in bettering their opinion of me?
And who better to help them than the one who knows me best?
I have all these pluses and I want others to realize it.
I have ways of proclaiming these pluses by being indirect and fishing for opportunities to proclaim my goodness.
By my conversation I can lead others to proclaim my goodness and bask in the recognition I truly deserve.
I may even declare my goodness by proclaiming loudly that I have no goodness.
I may take a lowly position on purpose knowing that I may be called to take a high position because I have taken such a lowly position.
I may take the low seats knowing that someone will call me to the chief seats and at the same time be impressed with my humility.
The heart contrives to proclaim its goodness because it has no goodness in itself.
The heart is deceitful above all things and is an expert at devising ways to cover up its darkness with proclamations of goodness.
The heart is bent to boasting of itself.
That is a truth which is easily believed for we all have the same heart, the heart of Adam.
The heart of Adam naturally bends acclaim its way.
This is a common failing and one for the Christian to seek the help of God's grace.
Proclaiming your own goodness shows a lack of understanding about yourself.
Proclaiming your own goodness reveals a lack of knowledge of God's word for God has much to say about goodness.
God has much to say about the nature of a man and his lack of goodness.
Not allowing the word of God to reveal what you are will result in a false understanding of goodness.
Without the light of the word of God all the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, proverbs tell us.
Without the light of the word of God man has a distorted picture of himself and that distorted picture of himself causes him to see goodness where there is no goodness.
So he proclaims goodness in him where there is no goodness.
By definition, self proclaimed goodness, is not goodness.
Self proclaimed goodness comes from a heart of pride and a heart of pride is without goodness.
Isaiah said in Isa 10:15, Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.
God compares man to an ax, a saw, a rod, and a staff.
Tools that serve, tools that were created to serve.
An ax is only as useful as the maker makes it and aims it and swings it.
A saw is only as sharp as the sharpener sharpens it.
A rod and a staff are only of help when in the hand.
By themselves they are nothing.
They cannot boast of their sharpness, they cannot magnify, they cannot shake or lift up themselves against the one who hewed them.
They are only made to serve their maker and likewise is any creation of God.
Isaiah prays to the Father and says in: Isaiah 64:8, But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Made to serve, not made to proclaim how good they are.
but a faithful man who can find?
So in the context of this verse we must conclude that a faithful man is a man who does not proclaim his goodness.
A faithful man is a man who understands what he is in the eyes of God.
A faithful man knows that there is none good but God.
A faithful man knows that he is a servant and that any goodness that dwells in him is of God and is a fruit of the Spirit of God.
A faithful man is one who sticks by the stuff regardless of acclaim or lack of acclaim.
Acclaim does not move the faithful man for his boast is in the Lord.
The faithful man agrees with Psalm 34:2, My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
And Psalm 44:8, In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
Boasting in God all the day long leaves no time for proclaiming ones own goodness.
God leaves you no time because boasting about things that do not exist takes no time at all.
No wonder it is rare to find a faithful man.