Many people like to boast. It comes naturally to them. For others it is a deliberate attempt to impress others with their own importance. But boasting is not good for a Christian. It is written: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). The future is never ours unless God gifts it to us. Changes can happen (see Proverbs 27:24) that can dramatically push you out of the picture. Instead of the head you can easily become the tail.

The uncertainty of tomorrow is again brought to light by James. He says to those who boast about travelling to this city or that city and do business to make money that they do not know what will happen tomorrow. He adds, “As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:16 NIV). Instead, they are advised to submit to the will of God and do good to others.

Some others boast about their would-be achievements. For them King Ahab has some advice. Even though he was a wicked king, he somehow understood that boasting is not good. So when the enemy king boasted that he would defeat King Ahab in a big way, Ahab replied thus: “One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off” (1 Kings 20:11). It is a simple and practical advice. We, who begin to do something shouldn’t boast of it. Instead let us focus on finishing our job well.

Then there are others who boasts about the gifts they have been given to minister unto others. Paul reminds us that the gifts do not make us superior to someone else. He says that it is all given by God. And when we have that attitude, then it is wrong to boast about something you received from God (1 Corinthians 4:7).

But the Bible also gives us a chance to boast. Do not be surprised. Instead of boasting about wisdom, strength and riches, we are called to boast about this: “But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight” (Jeremiah 9:24 NIV). Well, that is something you can boast about; but can you? Do you have an intimate knowledge of and a personal relationship with your God? Can you say, “The LORD is my shepherd” with a sense of boasting. “He [David] spoke with a strong sense of pride and devotion and admiration. It was as though he literally boasted aloud, `Look at who my shepherd is-my owner-my manager!’ ” (quoted from Phillip Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23).

And coming to the New Testament, we have Paul clearly showing us where his boast was centred on. He says, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14 NIV). For our salvation is not one that we earned by our good works (see Ephesians 2:9). Paul was so centred on the cross of Christ that he considered all his achievements and traditional superiority about which he could have boasted as rubbish (Philippians 3:8) so as to know Christ more deeply. Can that be said about you? dear child of God.

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