“My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.” Psalm 34:2
“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
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17; Galatians 6:14
Wisdom, strength, wealth, experiences, awards, accomplishments. All are rich fodder for boasting in today’s world, because they point to me, what I have earned or procured or done or won. They highlight my wits and muscles and expertise and advantage. My verbal and photographic selfies focus in on me and boost my image… but before whom? And for what end?
The scriptures allow, and even invite boasting, but that which is other-worldly, and often not even understood or well-received. The crux is in how we find our identity. When we are hidden in Christ, there is a necessary relinquishment of the vain things that charmed us before. We have been crucified with Christ, to the world. Our mindset is altered from me to Him, from this to that, and it permeates the way we order our lives and interact with others. (Galatians 2:20)
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.” ~Isaac Watts (1707)
Insecurity leads us to whip out trinkets of personal accolades to dangle for notice in conversation, where security in who we are in Christ compels us to interject the significance of His mark on us. Self-centeredness drives us to make our way well and noticeable, but Christ-centeredness consumes us with how we can proclaim His goodness and reflect His glory in work and service. Self-importance inflates me, where dependence on the cross boasts only in weakness, because that is where Christ’s power shines. Which is it for me? (2 Corinthians 11:30)
“I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ; his death and resurrection
Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart: his wounds have paid my ransom.” ~Stuart Townend (1995)
It takes deliberation to boast in Christ. We may follow Him, trust Him, earnestly try to obey Him, but still be ashamed to speak up and show Him off. What opportunities will I make to boast of Christ Jesus? How might I magnify His perfections, excellencies, love, and grace? Where can I lift high His cross today? (Romans 1:16)
Lord, so captivate and consume me with You that I daily boast of You, in thought, word, and deed, to the praise of Your power and glory.