2 Timothy 3:1-2 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,”
Boasting seems 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 when they seem full of themselves and any discerning person 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 “in order that, as it has been written: “The one boasting, let him boast in the Lord.”
We don’t see Paul discouraging this form of praise, but rather we are encouraged in how we boast.
To “boast in the Lord” means to glory in Christ, to glory in what He is doing, and to glory in His marvelous works, it is found in the greek word kauchaomai which is interpreted as “I who glory or (exult) proudly”. Whatever the work the Lord is doing, He may be doing something apart from us or in us, either way, the Lord is glorified….not me.
Jeremiah 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;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”
To understand and know the Lord is one of the highest aims of mankind.
If I met a believer who boasted in how much he knows the Lord, I’d be concerned that his pride is getting the best of him but God says that you can glory or (boast) in how much you understand and know Him. What we see, is that a man or woman who has found delight in their walk with God and all that God has imparted to them, (typically knowledge of Him) brings a form of worship that is difficult if not impossible to repress. This doesn’t reflect a greater acknowledgement of the person’s flesh but a greater desire to dwell with and know the One who makes them holy. This pattern of glorifying God in your testimony encourages others to seek God as well and hopefully inspires them to get to know Him better. If the world witnesses our testimony, the hope is that we might lead them to a knowledge of Christ that brings repentance.
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.”
We can and should exalt all that God is doing both in our lives and in those around us. What Jesus did on the cross is worthy of exaltation.
Having grown up in the church I used to hear a warning against revealing something we’ve done for the Lord lest we lose our reward.
Matthew 6:3 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”
Jesus’ words of warning are against those who do charity just for the sake of their own ego. They have one eye on the work and the other eye on those who are watching them do the work. They love the praise they receive from others and aren’t afraid to talk about their ‘great’ work with anyone who might listen.
It is this type of boasting that repulses others around them. What I’ve personally witnessed is the ‘good acts’ or in this case the ones that look good from the surface, these are usually very unfruitful. Since the Holy Spirit isn’t the one doing the leading the work has not been blessed therefore the fruit of the Spirit is not in the work.
We hear Paul testifying in 2 Corinthians 11:21b “Speaking as a fool, however, I can match what anyone else dares to boast about.” Paul describes how those who boast do so to their own shame…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 exalting the Lord Jesus proudly, 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.
Psalm 34:2 “My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.”
When God is glorified, the people rejoice. A heart that is filled with an abundance of joy can’t help but share it with others.
Psalm 44:8 “In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah”
We know how weak our flesh can be and the Lord reminds us that even in our weakness the Lord can do something miraculous, 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.
Withhold your Judgement
Let’s 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.
1 Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
The testimony of others should drive us toward rejoicing in Christ, not into jealousy or hatred. We can rejoice with them since we serve the same Lord and King and we just might want to share with them our next moment of rejoicing with the hope they will rejoice with us.