We tend to brag about pretty much everything. We brag about our jobs and our houses. We brag about our motorcycles and our boats. We brag about our kids and our grandchildren. We brag about our church and our pastor. We brag about our spirituality, and our discernment. We brag about our wisdom and our work ethic. Almost everyone (restrained from saying “all” because I can’t prove that it is universal) brags about something. I don’t know what it is that you brag about but we brag about things. Maybe it is our stricter standards. Maybe it is our doctrinal stance. Maybe we brag because we aren’t the weaker brother. We brag though.
Interestingly to me, the Bible doesn’t tell us not to brag or boast altogether. Rather it tells us what we are to brag in.
1 Corinthians 1:23-31
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Paul gives a list – similar in some respects to mine. He says, don’t bring glory to yourselves through these things. We shouldn’t boast or brag about all the things I mentioned. Rather, Paul gives us our one option; we are to glory in the Lord. This is echoed from Jeremiah.
23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lordwhich exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
These passages have the same point, made in the OT and NT – we are to glory in God. We are to boast in the fact that we know Him. That we are his. That we know He is loving and righteous. This is what we are to brag about. Even more specific though is what Paul tells us in Galatians.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
It is Good Friday today. A day that we specifically remember the death of Christ (not the only day) – the Cross of Christ. It is this Cross that allows us to glory. It is this Cross by which we are saved. It is the sacrificial death of our Savior and Redeemer, and only that death, which should cause us to glory.
When we return to our jobs and normal lives next week, let us not get caught up in bragging about the food or family. Let us not forget that the reason we celebrate this weekend is the only reason we have to boast of anything. It is the reason we have blessings and grace. It is the reason God can forgive sinners and adopt them. It is all we have. That is why it is what we boast in. There is nothing else for us. All else is counted but dung when compared to knowing Christ. But when we do know Christ, we can boast in Him. We can boast in His cross and what He has accomplished for us. We can and should be telling everyone.
If I caught the biggest fish of my life or shot the biggest buck this weekend, I would probably be prone to tell the person I saw in Publix or my co-worker. I would be telling all sorts of people. Eventually, everyone I know or who knows me, and even strangers would know about the “accomplishment” I achieved over the weekend. My countenance would say that something happened to or for me. My words would testify of it. Let us not just stop boasting of these other temporal things, but boast in God. Let us see the cross and Christ with a renewed image this weekend. And let us boast in it – to everyone we know.