Several years ago a fictional man by the name of “Larry Boast” came as a surprise guest to a father/son mentoring club my husband led. Mr. Boast bragged on add nauseam about everything under the sun. Through his exaggerated, obnoxious and overbearing personality, Mr. Boast delivered an invaluable lesson to the boys gathered that night; bragging is unbecoming for anyone, but especially for the follower of Christ. Chances are we’ve all encountered “Larry’s wife”: the woman who has perfected the art of “subtle bragging” on her children, her husband, her home, her job, her latest purchase, and her latest vacation. Her list of things to brag about seems endless. Like the ostrich with her head in the sand, she is oblivious to the fact that her boasting is seen by all, exposing either her insecurities or her arrogance. She provides a great example for us and our children of how not to act.
Although none of us are strangers to pride, social media has normalized this “mother of all sins” and has even made it socially acceptable. Facebook, Twitter, and blogging (though morally neutral mediums) have opened the “Pandora’s Box” of self-promotion. If honest, we all have a desire to be important, successful and admired, but we do well to examine ourselves and our actions in light of His Word. What does the Scripture tell us about bragging?
“This is what the Lord says: The wise must not boast in his wisdom; the mighty must not boast in his might; the rich must not boast in his riches. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows me—that I am the Lord, showing faithful love, justice and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration." ~Jeremiah 9:23,24
When we look to Christ we see perfect humility displayed. Jesus never touted His accomplishments, nor did He announce Himself when He entered a community; people gathered because His works preceded Him. His very entrance into time and space through Mary’s womb was an act of unparalleled humility. Philippians 2:8 tells us that this King “humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” Jesus never flaunted who He was. He didn’t have to; His life spoke volumes.
One has to wonder: if Jesus had a Facebook page, what would it look like? Would He update it daily with His latest “selfie” or sporting His latest garment purchase? Would He flaunt His disciples’ many accomplishments? Don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting it is wrong to post photos or share good things in our lives. But before we post perhaps we should ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” “Does this draw attention to Christ, or to myself?"
Though Jesus had every right to boast (He is the King of all kings, after all), He didn’t. He never sang His own praises. We should live as Jesus did, content to go unnoticed. When Christ is truly the center of our lives and we find our worth and identity in Him, no self-promotion is needed.
“But as for me (Paul) I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” ~Galatians 6:14
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