Boasting comes as naturally to human flesh as mold comes to spoiled food — and twice as fast.
Boasting comes in many forms, doesn’t it…
There are the earthy boasts of our pride in living, which amount to little more than vanity of person, figure (appearance), accumulation, or reputation; our pride in perceiving life’s lessons, i.e., self-flattering intellect, prowess, or reservation; and the gross pride in our own vices, the often grotesque, unbecoming, and crass nature of flaunting something because it is taboo or frowned upon or because we have otherwise made a singular behavior our personal identity.
Then, if we conquer these former things, there are the wispier breathy boasts of surreptitious pride in our pure motives, vainly flattering our subscript sincerity, good intentions, or superior horizons; pride in clean and orderly goals, which covertly covers little more than the reflective surfaces of competition, covetousness, or self-righteousness; and pride in our own efforts, be they the efforts of correctly parsing jots and tittles for (false) salvific purposes or the efforts of a superstitious religion which pretends to walk on water but loses Jesus for watering down His words.
Many will say they are boasting in what God has given them — err, that they have the right to boast about their gifts or status while propped up by God’s good bounty. Others will claim that they boast in God’s favor and power and calling, erring also while propped up by upper-class illusions, identities, and comforts they mistook for God and godliness, while reprimanding the Ezekiels for poor dress and chastising the Jeremiahs for such a heavy yoke…
Indeed, boasting of comfy seat cushions is not beneath me, even if it was in jest.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).
Boasting is rarely winsome. In everyone’s boast, someone nearby cringes; it’s far too easy to pick out in others and far too easy to excuse from our own eyes. What distinguishes the boast of the cross of Christ from these other boasts — many of which claim Christ?
Three things set this boast apart from the rest immediately:
1) It is a work already done
2) It is a work wrought for all
3) It is a work that none of us could do
— So that we cannot boast of the cross of Christ (and its good wellness for our souls) as in any way being something that we attained or accomplished or apprehended or ascended to of our own will, effort, or goodness. The cross of Christ was all God’s idea, God’s effort, God’s goodness, and God’s grace. That is the work — God’s work ON THE CROSS — in which, as Christians, we may boast!
When we boast in things that are circumstantial, a right of birth place, order, or sex; status, position, education, knowledge, or boot-strapping, we boast in ourselves and of our own (or others’) works, not Christ’s.
Some, like me, were blessed circumstantially to have been born in the United States of America. We strive, however, to make Christ’s work our only boast because at the end of the day His work is the only boast that stands in our Father’s eyes. Only the cross of Christ can separate me from the most damnable sinner — here or anywhere else in the world.
Is there then anything else in which we truly have right to boast? All that we have comes from our Father, our Creator, Who freely gives…
If we boast any identity, let it be this.