For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
What is the opposite of boasting?
Boasting is about inflating self — like filling oneself with hot air in order to rise higher like a proverbial hot air balloon. Many who boast the loudest and most often of themselves are actually trying to compensate for a lack of genuine self esteem and maturity by projecting what they think they “should be” in their words about themselves. It is not a pretty picture when we see it for what it is.
And Christ died for us, and saved us, not of our own works, SO THAT NO ONE MIGHT BOAST.
You see, we do not deserve praise and honor.
To a prideful man, he will look at all of his hard work and say, “But I deserve…” when things don’t turn out the way that he expected. Or he will look at the less fortunate and justify in his own mind that he has more because he is not so lazy, even as he grumbles that those with more are somehow all crooks and swindlers. It is hard to consider the sovereignty of Almighty God and that His purpose cannot be thwarted when we believe that it is our own cause and effect that gets us our good rewards and that when we don’t get what we want, it is due to circumstances beyond our control. When we have the mindset that we are the earners of the good gifts that life and others haven’t found a way of cheating us out of — God’s grace and goodness is indeed far away from our comprehension (even though He is truly the source of EVERY GOOD GIFT).
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17 ESV
It is easy to forget this, beloved, when the circumstances of life during a pandemic hit us — or when we feel the temptation to boast of ourselves. But the point of Christ revealed is to show us our right standing — humbly praising God alone. Those gifts and talents and abilities we are sometimes proud of in ourselves — God gave them to us, and He could just as easily take them away. So what good does it do to sing praises of ourselves, when He has entrusted us with these treasures and abilities to be used to bring Him glory.
Christ does not bring us pride, He opens our eyes to awe and wonder of God that naturally humbles a man before his maker. The enemy is the one who hangs out pride and lies and hypocrisy and judgement and comparison that gets us into so much trouble. But we can trade the bitter poison of that old enemy for the fresh waters of grace.
What have I “taken credit for” and “boasted of” in myself? I should lay it down, confess it, and walk in a different way, walk in The Way that Jesus had taught us instead.
How often we forget humility and end up in pride. How often we lift up the wrong person in our heart and mind as begging worthy of praise ands honor and glory. Lord, forgive us and mold us to be more like you — you who were willing to be humbled even to the point of death to free us from the trappings of sin and pride and wickedness and death. Amen.
As an online friend, Gabriel Cross, writes in his blog post today:
“The most powerful prayer is simply A cry to the Father for help.”
“When you’re going through the hustle and bustle of life, don’t forget to ask The Lord to help you specifically, and He will.”
But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. (Psalm 109:21)