We can boast to self gain, or boast to the glory of God. In the last few weeks, I have been thinking about what it means to boast in Christ. On one hand, the word “boast”carries connotations of pride, yet on the other, it also promises a testimony that tells of God’s glory. How do we differentiate between boasting that glorifies self, and boasting that glorifies God?
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All we have comes from God, and we cannot work to earn His acclaim. Instead, we were made to simply receive His free gifts.
Salvation, all our abilities, all our understanding; it all comes from God.
Romans chapter 3, verse 27 says,
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.”
This makes it clear that we cannot boast to have won our own salvation though works. Whatever good work we do would never be enough to pay the price for sin in the world and no-one can say they are better than someone else. The only solution is Christ on the cross. So, we proclaim not our own good works, but the merciful act of love God demonstrates through Jesus at the cross.
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Furthermore, there is no boasting in the flesh. Our attitude in serving God needs to be transformed into worship.
Just as God looked past the sign of physical circumcision for Israel, God looks past our own public front. There is no boast in legalism. Being “religious” and doing the right things does not protect from boasting. Instead, we need to look past these actions and examine our heart.
Galatians chapter 6, verse 15 says,
”For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”
It does not matter that I am serving in my church if my heart is not right before God. Without a heart made new in Christ, my service is simply a job, or a hobby. However, when my heart is renewed daily through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, the things I do become worship, and worship boasts of Christ.
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Boasting is not made by words or actions, but by the position of our heart.
Jeremiah chapter 9, verses 23-24 say this:
“Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”
When we boast in Christ, our lives reflect a true understanding of His nature and His character. We are able to work, to serve, to live with the thanksgiving and joy that comes from knowing Christ.
So then, it is not the things I do or say that necessarily constitute boasting. It is not the abilities I have that give me boast. It is not the opportunities to serve in God’s kingdom that lead me into boasting. No, it is my heart that decides if I boast in self or boast in God, and I want to live with an attitude that gives glory to God in all things.