James said that we should not boast about tomorrow, since you do not know what it brings (James 4:13-17). Another thing that people boast about is what they have. But Paul asked: what do you have that you were not given (1Corinthians 4:7)?
The one who boasts in material things shows that is where his trust is. But we are to boast in the Lord, in the knowledge of God, that we know him.
A rich young ruler in the time of Jesus rejected his word because he was attached to his riches more that he was attached to God (Luke 18:18-30). Though he professed some form of godliness, he refused to yield to the current demand of God on his life, rejecting divine control (2Timothy 3:5).
Jesus told him that for him to enter into life he needed to sell all he had and give the produce to the poor but since his riches was something that gives him security, something he boasts in, he did not want to leave them. That shows that he thought the word of God was less important than his material things. For him, holding on to physical wealth was more important than the knowledge of Christ.
You boast of what gives security, what you think you have, what is important to you. You can boast of your lineage, and the privileges you think they confer on you.
Some Jews told Jesus that they have Abraham as their father and therefore were not in bondage and did not need to follow the truth of Jesus to be free (John 8:30-41). They boasted in their history and lost out of what God is doing now.
In another place, Jesus warned that the people should not think that having Abraham as their father, was enough to save them (Luke 13:1-5).
Just as what you have in the past should not be the basis of your boasting, also not what you have accumulated.
Jesus however said that we should lay our treasure in heaven and not on earth where moth and thieves get to. He added that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.
Jesus also said: labour not for the bread that does not fill, but for eternal life (John 6:27). Where you invest in most shows where your commitment will be, i.e. what you regard as very important.
He also said the one who lays his hands on the plough and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). That means the man got distracted, his sense of value changed for the worse and started committing less to the things of the kingdom of God and more to self.
Demas, Paul wrote, chose to leave his ministerial team to pursue personal interests. He left the limitless for the limited (2Timothy 4:10).
In another place, Paul said that everyone cares for himself and not for the things of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:21). In the temptation of the Jesus, the devil was all about extracting traits of self-commitment from him, contrary to commitment to God. It was to get him to assert his independence from God, a ploy to get him to rebel but he did not fall into that trap. It was to get him to boast in himself, but he reaffirmed his boast in the Lord, and he blinded the devil with the brightness of his allegiance to God.
There was nothing that the children of Israel could lay claim to about how they came to be free from bondage in Egypt. God said he delivered them and brought them to himself on eagle’s wings. There was nothing for them to boast about. They were “victims” of the mercy of God. When the journey for their freedom began, the only thing they did was call upon God, in the expression of faith.
The only thing we need to be saved is faith and that the bible says is the gift of God. It is written: By grace are we saved, through faith, and that is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). We are enabled to take the right step, helped to do the right thing.
Whatever good we express is derived from Jesus. If he does not shine his light we walk in darkness, if we did not get his strength then we remain weak, when we do not see him, we are not seeing things correctly. But in him, we were blind and now we see, lame and now walk, with leprosy and now cleansed.
Jesus healed a number of people. But his healing works were also templates of what he does now spiritually in us as a life-giving Spirit (1Corinthians 14:45).
We were spiritually blind. We could not find our way and fell into the pit, in need of Jesus to open our eyes to see and find our way out of bondage.
Through the preaching of the gospel by those sent, we hear the gospel and we believe (Romans 10:9-13). The bible says that the devil has blinded the heart of the unbelievers so that the light of the gospel does not shine there (1Corinthians 4:4).
There was a man born blind in the bible and healed by Jesus (John 9). His physical experience parallels ours. We are all spiritually blind by birth. We need to have our eyes opened (the eyes of faith) to enable us to see Jesus and receive him.
Those who walk get things done faster and better, generally speaking. Without Christ we are spiritually lame, we will not move on to the purpose of God. And there was a man in the book of acts who was lame from birth. Prior to meeting Paul and John he was bound to the ground, but after his healing he could leap to the skies (Acts 3:1-12).
Jesus also healed lepers. A leper in the time of the bible was a social outcast, in the very bottom of the social order. But Jesus reaches out to them, cleaning them of the infirmity. Leprosy is the symbolic of sin, and Jesus’s blood was shed for the purpose of cleaning us. We were spiritual outcast, casted out of the Garden of Eden, and Jesus bent down from heaven to touch and clean us.
What do we boast about? Nothing of our own. David said: not to us oh lord not to us, but to your name we give glory, we boast in (Psalm 115:1).
- “It Is the Lord!” (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Open Door Class Study of the Book of Acts: “The Acts of the New Church” (arborlawnumc.typepad.com)
- Oswald Chambers (societyinchrist.com)
- Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (emmanuelchatham.typepad.com)