SCRIPTURE STUDY: Jeremiah 9:23-24, Philippians 3:3-11
Okay, I’ll admit it. I stole the title for this blog from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question…” You’ll see the connection as you read on.
To Brag or Not to Brag? Doesn’t everybody “brag”?
ILL: Two young boys were having a discussion over school lunches. “My father makes more money and, my dad can run faster than your dad!” Oh, yeah!” said the other boy. “My dad can beat up your dad.” “That’s nothing, he responded. “My mom can beat up my dad!”
So does everyone brag or not? My mother always asked me as a child when patting myself on the shoulder for my accomplishments, why I was bragging about them My answer, of course, was to shift the responsibility to someone else. “My friends brag all the time!” Her response was always the same: “If one of your friends told you to jump off the roof, would you do it?” I would shake my head no. and she would continue saying, “Quit shifting the blame to others and admit your own wrongdoing, Mel. You know better!” Mom always has ways to make you want to crawl under something when coming up with a wrong ‘you should have known better’ reprimands.
So let’s see what Scripture, God’s Word has to say about “to brag or not to brag”.
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 9:23-24
God says that there is something worth bragging about and it’s not your bank account, your position, your education degrees. God says that there is only ONE THING worth bragging about.
DO YOU KNOW HIM?
It’s amazing how we can brag about everything under the sun, but God says that if you really want something to shout about, can you brag that you know Him? Because if you can’t brag about knowing God with a personal relationship. then it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve tucked away, what degrees are on your wall, or what position you’ve acquired in your company.
The only thing really worth talking about in our lives is our relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
In Tony Evans’ book, Time to Get Serious: Daily Devotions to Keep You Close to God, he says if God is the all-consuming, all-powerful, all-knowing, loving and infinite Creator, sustainer, and redeemer of this universe, then nothing else we can do matters quite as much as getting to know Him, and to know Him well.
Three Decisions We Must Make In Order to Really Know God:
#1. LET GOD BE GOD
That sounds pretty basic. But many times we have a tendency to put God into a box; to trim him down to fit our thinking of who God is. Personally, I want a God who is bigger than me–bigger than my problems. A God that Jeremiah speaks about.
I want a God who can handle my prayers, lift me up when I’ve fallen. I want a God who can save my soul. I want a God worth bragging about!
And we have one! In all His infinite knowledge and power, God sent His Son.
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:1 (AMP)
God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.
You must be still and know before He can be your refuge and strength.
“Be Still” –
The word still is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, “to slacken, let down, or ease.”
Christians often interpret to “be still” as “to be quiet in God’s presence.” While quietness is helpful, the phrase means to stop frantic activity, to let down and to be still. For God’s people being “still” would involve looking to the Lord for their help. [See footnote [i].]
#2. PRACTICE HIS PRESENCE
It’s one thing to say that God is everywhere. It’s quite another to realize that you are His child. He is with you everywhere you go.
Psalm 139:7-10 [I want someone with a face!]
Now that’s something to shout about!
Your God is everywhere! We need to believe it and practice it!
#3. SEEK TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE
1 Peter 1:16
“Be holy, because I am holy.”
A man brought his boss home for dinner for the first time. His boss who always bragged, “I’m a self-made man!” That night at dinner, his boss was loud, rude, and arrogant. The little boy in the family just stared at his father’s boss but didn’t say anything. Finally, the boss asked, “Why do you keep staring at me like that, sonny?” The young boy answered, “My Daddy says you’re a self-made man.” The boss grinned proudly and admitted indeed he was a self-made man. The little boy said, “Well if you’re a self-made man, why did you make yourself like that?” Out of the mouths of babes.
Do you want to be a self-made person? Or do you want to be a God made individual?
Personally, I want to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.
I want to be continually transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).
I want God to create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
The more we know God the more we will know ourselves.
People are always trying to find out who they are. But you can’t know that until you come face to face with God. If you don’t want to know the truth, don’t pursue God.
ILL: A woman asks her husband, “How do you like my dress?” Her husband replies, “Worse thing I ever saw!” His answer got her quite upset and her husband said, “If you didn’t really want to know, then why did you ask?”
GOD CALLS IT AS HE SEES IT (Luke 5:1-11).
And in verse 8 – When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
But God didn’t leave it here. (Luke 5:10)
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah saw the GLORY of God (vs. 5)
“…for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
GOD TELLS IT LIKE IT IS (Romans 3:23)
“Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.”
God doesn’t leave you where you are.
Like a good doctor, God gives the proper treatment for your life. For SIN, He offers SALVATION by the blood of Christ.
Paul in Philippians 3 says, “Been there, done that”
Philippians 3:3-11 (NIV)
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh–  though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:  circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;  as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
 I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
God’s PURPOSE in the Creation of Man and the Salvation of Sinners is that We Might Boast (‘brag’) in HIM.
THE BRAGGING (BOASTING), PRIDE CONNECTION —
Whether you agree or disagree, we were made in His image and to BOAST in Him.
We were made to give Him credit for all good. We were made to rely on His power. We were made to magnify His glory and His all-sufficiency in our weakness. This is the source of all ultimate joy and satisfaction. If God were to delight in anything less and our bragging in Him, He would be an idolater and a killjoy.
PRIDE diverts our capacity for exultation from the vastness of God’s Glory to the gutters of our insignificant achievements. It’s a decorated dead-end street. Therefore, God hates PRIDE!
What is PRIDE?
- It’s bragging in ourselves and not the Lord.
- It’s taking credit ourselves for what God alone can do.
- It’s relying on self and not God.
- It’s feeling sufficiency in our own strength and not in God’s.
- It’s the unwillingness to admit that we are mere earthen vessels so that another gets the glory.
- It’s the reluctance to admit weaknesses that may accent the power of Christ Jesus.
Paul said in Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to glory [in anything or anyone] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!” (AMPLIFIED)
And the PROMISE OF GOD is this: There is no greater life, no greater joy than to boast in Him!
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:
Commentary: Topic, Pride & Humility: “Let Him Who Boasts Boast in the Lord!” by John Piper.
Images/Photos: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New King James Version (NKJV).
Footnote: GotQuestions.org.; “To be still” footnote [i].