The definition of boasting, “to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself” is the kind of boasting that is never a part of love.
Love quiets our heart and mouth. Love humbles us before our God and before others. We are not puffed up when we are within God’s love. In love, we do not see how we are better, or bigger, or stronger, or richer, or taller because we are continually expressing our joy in humility. Love engenders humility in us rejecting the idea of being better than someone else. There is no bragging in love because love is “others” oriented. To boast means we are deficient. With love, there is no deficiency, only an overflowing of heart, mind, and soul. When we boast, we ignore others while love is centered on others rather than upon self.
Is there anything wrong with boasting? Not necessarily.
No one likes a braggart. Excessive boasting is obnoxious and rude. It belittles others and serves self. In short, it’s not love. But we should boast…and we need to be careful about how we go about doing it.
You’re out with friends. The girls are chatting together while the guys share a word. One of the guys starts going on about what he did for his girlfriend on their anniversary, telling all of the details about how much hard work he put into it. This can play out in one of two ways.
He’s either sharing all of this so that his friends know how wonderful he thinks his girlfriend is, and how deserving she was/is of that treatment, expressing regret that he can’t always treat her with this much attention – or, he’s bragging. In the latter scenario, he’s making himself look good, which makes it seem as though he went so out of his way for such an undeserving wretch as his girlfriend, and she’s so lucky to have a good person like him in her life. How would that make her feel? Is that loving?
Our boasting should be confined to what God is doing in our lives and with the people we have contact with. The purpose is to encourage others and further His Kingdom.
God is loving and kind by nature. Therefore, he cannot keep himself from giving us abundant gifts. He gives us homes and families, healthy bodies, wisdom, skills and talents, and knowledge of the Scriptures. Unfortunately, we cannot keep ourselves from taking credit for these gifts and boasting about them. Without God’s gifts, our lives would be miserable. But even with God’s gifts, our lives end up being miserable because we are still experiencing the effects of original sin. The whole human race is thoroughly infected with original sin. Unbelievers don’t understand the seriousness of it, so they act as if it doesn’t matter.
We see this problem, not only in ourselves, but in others as well. We brag about our material possessions, even though these are rated as the least valuable of God’s abundant gifts. Consequently, the wealthy, regardless of whether they are nobles, merchants, or farmers, consider other people to be mere pests. Even more serious abuses exist with the more important gifts, such as wisdom and justice. The fact that God gives his gifts to everyone results in the following predicament: God cannot tolerate boasting, and we cannot keep from doing it.
This was how the world sinned before the flood. Among Cain’s descendants were some of the finest and most intelligent people in the world. But in God’s eyes they were very evil because they had become they had become filled with pride about the gifts God had given them. Then they despised God, who gave them their gifts in the first place. The world doesn’t understand why this is wrong and therefore doesn’t condemn this behavior. But God condemns it.
Jesus never showed off. His greatness is often revealed in what He suppressed, rather than what He did or said.
Love will never boast about itself or about things it has no influence over. If love boasts, it will only boast about the object of its affections, in a way that makes the love grow stronger, and shows everyone how much it has changed the lives of those it has touched.
Love builds others up, it doesn’t tear them down. Bragging brings others down in an attempt to elevate yourself. True love acts in humility.
Verses to encourage you today:
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth. Proverbs 27:2
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But not to use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 NIV
As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 NLT
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Not a result or works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
Today’s Challenge: Refrain from commending yourself. Boast about God and others.