Of ALL the characteristics we’re covering this month, why, just why, did I have to get this one! I guess God has a bit of a sense of humor, as well as knows that this is an area in particular that I need to grow in. Over the course of the past few days, I’ve been specifically trying not to make prideful comments (or boast), at least not in a serious sense of the word. And let me tell you, it’s hard! Because of this post, I’ve realized just how much I actually brag, and about stupid things. So trust me guys, you aren’t the only ones that struggle with boasting.
A few months ago, in a post entitled “You’re Not That Impressive: A Talk About Total Depravity”, Scott really knocked our legs out from under us, in a manner of speaking. The theme for that particular month was “Who Am I”, and the point of the post was to present the reality that without Christ, we’re in a state of complete moral corruption, that without Christ, we are completely hopeless. For those of you that haven’t yet read it, I do encourage you to check it out. My purpose for the first part of this post is to take a somewhat similar approach and to show you what all you have to boast about, to help you realize that you may not actually be as amazing as you think. So buckle your seatbelts; I know this won’t necessarily be a fun read, but I do hope that it is a challenging one.
So the main question I want to ask you is, “Why are you boasting?” What do you gain from it? Do you really think so highly of yourself as to brag about your accomplishments to others?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)
“I can do nothing on my own.” (John 5:30a)
“Not that we are sufficient enough to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
“None is righteous, no not one;” (Romans 3:10b)
Very uplifting verses, right? Still feeling like you’re all that and a bag of chips? If so, I encourage you to take a break from this post, grab your Bible, and read chapters 38-41 from the book of Job. Trust me, I don’t think you’ll be feeling all that important/significant after reading that.
Hopefully, by now you’re starting to realize that you’re really not all that impressive apart from God. You’re not righteous. You’re saved by God’s grace, not your own works. What exactly are you boasting about? I like how
Paul phrased it in 1 Corinthians 4:7b, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Every good thing we have is a gift that we have received from God, whether it be gifts and talents, money, etc.
There is one type of boasting. However, that is not sin and that is boasting in our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Galatians 6:14a)
It may be true that we in ourselves aren’t that significant, but we know the one who is. It may be true that we ourselves have nothing to boast about, but it’s also true that we have the opportunity to be in a relationship with a God that we can boast about of the rest of our lives and not even come close to accurately describing the full extent of his love or of his power. He truly is indescribable.
So by this point, you’re probably wondering how this all ties into the study we’re doing on love. Why is this one of the characteristics of love found in 1 Corinthians 13? Well, think about it. When you boast about your accomplishments, talents, or really anything, where are you drawing the attention to? Yourself. And who does love draw the attention to and place first? Others, right? So why does love not boast? Because authentic love is placing others before yourself.