I thought about beginning this article by discussing football in the state of Alabama. Every year at this time, fans wearing either crimson and white or orange and blue claim bragging rights for the next 364 days. But I’ll turn in a different direction here. People enjoy being able to boast about things. Whether it’s football, some other sport, or even the time we rang the garbage can with a wad of paper from 20 feet away, many of us find delight in boasting. There is an extent to which healthy competition can be good, but should boasting be a part of a Christian’s character?
In His Holy Word, the Lord made some clear statements about things His people should not boast about: “…Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches” (Jeremiah 9:23). “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Proverbs 27:1). James said this about those who would boast about their future plans: “…you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:16). All of these warnings have at least one thing in common. The Lord is displeased when earthly things become our source of pride and boasting.
The Lord has also given us plenty to be proud of…plenty of things to “boast” about. “But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). This is certainly not intended to be an arrogant, unloving type of boasting. The idea seems to be that our source of pride should be the Lord. Paul even said that one might go as far as to “boast” in his/her weaknesses because it is when we are weak that Christ and His power are strongest in us (II Corinthians 12:9).
So, with your hope and faith set on Jesus, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (II Corinthians 10:17).