To “boast” has always seemed to have a negative connotation. If someone is known for boasting, they are typically looked on in silent disdain. It seems easy to judge one who appears proud or haughty since they are seemingly full of themselves and any rightful Christian who knows their Bible knows a fall is coming soon. But is all boasting bad?
Let’s take a look at what God’s Word says about it and draw conclusions from the source of all Truth.
1 Corinthians 1:31 seems to be at the top of the list: “in order that, as it has been written: “The one boasting, let him boast in the Lord.”
We don’t see Paul discouraging boasting, but rather, it seems that we are encouraged in how we boast. To “boast in the Lord”, is to glory in Him, in what He is doing, in His marvelous works. The Lord may be doing something apart from us or in us, either way, the Lord is glorified.
We likewise see the Lord personally addressing this subject to Jeremiah in chapter 9:23-24
Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, [j]judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
Now, if I met a believer who boasted in how much he knows the Lord, I’d struggle being concerned about his pride he is showing but God here says, glory or (boast), in how much you understand and know Him. What we see, is a man or woman who is delighting in growing in their walk with God and what God has imparted to them, (typically knowledge of Him). This isn’t reflected in greater acknowledgement of the person’s flesh per say, but their desire to dwell with and know the One who makes them holy. What this pattern does, is encourages others to seek God as well as to get to know Him. This pattern is not meant to glorify anyone other than the King of all glory and lead others to Christ.
Paul makes an emphatic declaration in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Yet we hear Paul testifying in 2 Corinthians 11 of how he must boast a little to denounce those who boast in the flesh far more…his conclusion to this is found in verse 30 “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
So as we look at this idea of boasting, or also interpreted, rejoicing or to glory in, we can look at Philippians 3:3 and make the same declaration “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,”
We can conclude that rejoicing or boasting in the Lord is encouraged when it brings glory to God. We hold our heads high when it comes to our King, He is worthy to take pride in. We know how weak our flesh is and it’s easy to forget our weakness when the Lord does something miraculous in our lives or teaches us something that is so profound we want to share it with others. The key is keeping our eyes on Jesus. We won’t lose sight of where our strength really lies.
Let’s also not forget to not be so rash in judging our brother or sister who is excited about all the Lord is doing in their life and wants to share it. Their testimony should drive us toward Christ, not into jealousy or hatred. We rejoice with them, we serve the same Lord and King and we just might want to share with them, our next moment of rejoicing and hope they rejoice with us.