Some people really have a hard time with pride. Their obsessive ambition seems dependent upon the recognition they receive. They expend so much energy in achieving their goals that any thought of God is distant and far from their minds.
On the other extreme, we see athletes, for example, who gush on and on about how God brought the victory! God did win the battle over sin and death. That is the only victory we should concern ourselves with when it comes to boasting.
Jeremiah’s audience is being cautioned here against boasting in their own efforts. Mixed in with visions of destruction, Jeremiah shares the LORD’s message about boasting. “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches.” I’m not sure how we are supposed to stop others from boasting without helping them see the truth.
What does God want us to do? “But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.” When is the last time you boasted about what God had done in your life or even how much God loves the world?
Don’t get stuck on the word boast. It simply means to brag about something. We have all known braggarts who love to hear themselves drone on and on about how great they are. Don’t be like that!
Falling prey to the sin of boasting can happen quite easily. How many times did I, as a children’s ministry director, “boast” about having 400 children registered in “my” program. It wasn’t my doing. It was God’s.
I’ve also heard plenty of Christians want to take credit for “bringing people to Christ.” The bringing isn’t our doing! The Holy Spirit is the one doing the work. We simply played a role in planting a seed or watering a seed planted by someone else. Why do we want to take credit for such things?
What about your own salvation? Do you work hard at being good to be saved or to please God? Ephesians 6:8 says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for this undeserved gift.
Another example for us is the apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:30): “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” Then we can show God’s power, strength and/or wisdom! I would much rather give God the credit for my achievements. After all, I truly believe that I am where I am today solely because of God’s direction for my life. Listening for God is something I can boast about because of how it has made a difference in my life.
How about you? What is something God has done for you that you could boast about all day long?
Let’s pray … Lord, I am overcome by how much you love me and provide for me each day. Forgive me for those times that I have taken credit for your handiwork. Humble me so I’ll always point to you and your provision for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.