No Room for BoastingDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.
The Apostle Paul often brought up the issue of boasting. In part, this reflected his experience as a Jew, since Jews in the Roman world tended to feel special pride because of their unique relationship with God. This easily translated into boasting. But Paul’s frequent focus on boasting also reflected his own tendency to feel exceptional pride. As a faithful Pharisee, Paul had been an exemplary Jew, one who took great pride in his religious accomplishments (see Phil. 3:5-6).
Yet when we recognize that our right standing with God has nothing to do with our efforts, but everything to do with God’s effort on our behalf, then we have no ground for boasting. Through faith we receive the grace of God. Thus, all the credit for our salvation goes to God, and God alone. Boasting is excluded by the reality of faith.
Sometimes we Christians can engage in boasting that contradicts the basis of our relationship with God. We can get puffed up about our access to God. You’ll see this kind of arrogance in the public square, and it surely turns people away from the Lord. It also contradicts the very basis of our Christianity. The more we remember that we have been made right with God through his grace, the more we will put aside pride and boastfulness. Our testimony in the world will come with genuine humility.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever been around Christians who boast because of their superior faith or understanding? Have you ever been one of those Christians? How has God’s grace helped you to be humble?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, first of all, I thank you for your grace. I am blessed to be in relationship with you, not because of what I have done, but because of what you have done for me and in me. How grateful I am for your goodness to me!
I think I have learned by now not to boast over my relationship with you, or over the access I have to your truth. Yet my lack of boasting doesn’t mean my heart has been freed from pride. I confess, Lord, that I can look down on people who do not know you, or who know you but have a theology that is so inconsistent with your Word. My boastfulness doesn’t come through in words, but it lurks in my heart. Forgive me, Lord!
Today I want to pray especially for Christians in the public square who speak of faith and its implications. Keep them from boastfulness and pride. Help them to feel and communicate with genuine humility. May the way we live in this world reflect the fact of your grace, so that people might be drawn to you, not only through our words, but through our attitudes. Amen.