Bragging Rights

‘“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)

They ooze out like sticky syrup, splotching conversation unnecessarily. Boastful words. Braggadocios challenges. Arrogant assumptions. Pride raises its puffed head and portrays pretentious imagery. Everyone discovers its nonsense, eventually.

We are quick to speak of accomplishments, share where we’ve been and people we know, sort of. Photos depicting charmed lives elevate our status. We post and pose our perfect worlds as selfish pride points the camera on us; all creation is backdrop to our existence. Our captions read: “It’s all about me. What else matters, really?”

The Lord is not impressed. He sees through the veneer and delves inside the chambers of our heart; the ones that pump pride are bare before his eyes. He delights in a totally different scenario to the ones we depict: “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).

Curious thing this thought: God doesn’t mind when we boast about him. He finds it delightful when we understand his ways, when we strive to comprehend his character, when we bow before his amazing attributes. Our own intellect, prowess, and wealth rank low in God’s assessment, and he finds our flaunting and posturing absurd, to say the least.

God doesn’t need our praise any more than he needs anything else from flawed human beings. But he created us, knows our frames perfectly, and desires that we make him our focus in order to give us valuable assets. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:6-8).

When our eyes are raised to his, when we use our wisdom, our resources, our capacities to draw attention his way, we become immersed in the wonder of who he is and far less enamored with our own importance. Our King is worthy of tribute; our Lord is worthy of praise. Go ahead and adore him. In fact, brag a bit where he is concerned!

Elizabeth A. Mitchell

Photo Credit: Bill Mitchell

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