Misplaced boasting ∙

A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won. – 1 Kings 20:11 

Romans 15:17-19

 17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God.

 18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them.

 19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ.

In the game of basketball, the NBA maintains statistics of baskets and assists. Baskets, also called field goals, are scoring events. A player makes a basket and scores two or three points when the ball goes through the hoop.

Frequently players do not score baskets on their own. Other team players share in the scoring event when they assist. They pass the ball to the player that actually makes the basket. The NBA defines an assist simply as a pass that leads directly to a basket.

In the game’s history, only seven players scored over 30,000 points: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar          38,387, Karl Malone 36,928, Kobe Bryant 33,643, LeBron James 32,543, Michael Jordan 32,292, Dirk Nowitzki 31,560, Wilt Chamberlain 31,419. Only one player had over 15,000 assists, John Stockton, 15,806.

Were the rest of the NBA players slackers? Not! Some of us are height challenged and have yet to score any baskets.

I doubt that the Father is much interested in NBA statistics. But He is very attentive to how His children work in spreading His message and expanding His kingdom.

Who gets the credit?

In the first century, Paul accomplished more than anyone else in his service to the Father. He traveled, taught, and preached the gospel message to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Vast numbers of Gentiles accepted the Lord Jesus Christ through Paul’s work. Humanly speaking, Paul had grounds to boast. Yet he knew that it was the Father working through him who was responsible. Paul gave all the credit to the Father, to whom it belonged. His boasting is all about the Father and what the Father has accomplished.

I am left wondering, who scored and who assisted?

REFLECT & PRAY

Some of the Father’s truths are delightful morsels that melt in your mouth. But other truths are hard and hit like a ton of bricks. Recognizing your boasting abuse is a brick.

Father I long to be nothing more than Your instrument used to do Your will.

INSIGHT

Jeremiah warns about boasting prematurely. It is quite normal for combatants to psych themselves up, whether on the playing field or on the battlefield. Today we call it trash-talking. A soldier preparing to do battle may boast of his bravery. But that person’s bravery cannot be compared to the soldier who fought in battle and lived to tell about it. If Jeremiah lived today, he might say, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

Paul was given a task, and he successfully carried it out. Paul had won the right to boast. He could proclaim, “I did it; mission accomplished.” But he did not do so. What he did do, however, is a lesson for us all.

An extraordinary collaboration/cooperation goes on between the Father and His servants. The children of the King are the Father’s hands and feet. He uses our minds, our personalities, our experiences, and ultimately our mouths to convey His message to the world. But the Father Himself provides the wisdom and power that energizes us to fulfill the assigned task.

What would be revealed if the Father were to peel back the layers of your heart searching for boasting abuse? In Romans 15, the Father does just that to Paul. He reveals Paul’s character and integrity for everyone to see.

Paul recognized that he was nothing more than an instrument in the Father’s hands. He did not brag, boast, or take pride in his accomplishments. Instead, he proclaimed to all how the Father had used him to accomplish His purpose.

When we start looking at ourselves and recalling all the great things that we have done, we cross a line. Instead, we are to think of what the Father has accomplished in and through us. When we do so, we follow Paul and get it right.

What is boasting? The Greek word, which is translated as boast, is kauchaomai. The term expresses an unusually high degree of confidence in someone or something exceptionally noteworthy. It involves taking pride in something, bragging. Boasting in and of itself is neutral. Boasting is used in both a good sense and a bad sense. It all depends upon who is boasting and what is being boasted about.

In a bad sense, it refers to taking pride in oneself and becoming a braggart. It is all about me! Bad boasting is self-centered. Bad boasting is often nothing more than self-aggrandizement and self-marketing. Paul knows that such self-flattery is dangerous. In a good sense, boasting is all about acknowledging the Father’s worth and expressing confidence in Him. It is all about Him! Good boasting is Father-centered.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

How, then, should we boast?

Learn from Paul. He tempered his boasting. The Father did the work; Paul was merely His agent, His mouthpiece, hands, and feet. The power to accomplish a task begins and ends with the Father. So also the results.

Romans 15:18 I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me.

Consider the Little Leaguer who put all his sixty pounds into a ferocious swing and barely connected. The ball scraped by the bottom of the bat and jiggled straight back to the pitcher, who groped and fumbled it. There was still plenty of time to throw out the batter at first, but the pitcher’s throw soared high over the first baseman’s head. The slugger flew on toward second base. The ball was retrieved. The next throw sailed wildly into left field. The hitter swaggered into third, puffing along with a man-sized grin, then crossed home plate. “Oh, boy,” he said, “that’s the first home run I ever hit in my whole life!” (Hughes)

1 Corinthians 1:31 If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.

Regrettably, sin is natural to the fallen human race. But growing accustomed to it, tolerating it, overlooking it, minimizing it, is far worse. The Corinthians boasted about their tolerance.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your boasting about this is terrible.

The Corinthians had grievous sin in their midst. But they did not call out sin as sin. The Corinthians compensated instead. Rather than condemning it, they found excuses for it. Sin needs to be dealt with overtly. Sin needs to be called out for what it is and dealt with.

Are you guilty of boasting abuse? What about others in your life? Have you ever confronted this sin?

¯\_()_/¯ 10-25-2

© Dr. H 2023

2 thoughts on “Misplaced boasting ∙

  1. Aha, excellent idea! I wonder why WordPress hasn’t thought of that?

    This reflection does have a bit of a sting to it. With a bit of levity, it reminds me of the adage, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” The essential meaning of is “If the assessment is correct, it should be accepted, even if it is unflattering.”

    I reminded of the Scriptures:

    James 1:23-25
    23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.
    24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
    25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

    1 Timothy 1:8-9
    8 We know that the law is good when used correctly.
    9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful.

    Like

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