Boast – “To talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one’s achievements, possessions or abilities”.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
There is usually the natural tendency for people to boast about the things they possess or about their achievements.
As a student many years ago, I remember remarks often made by fellow students in response to examination results. For those who excelled, it is common to here them say, “I aced the paper!” For those who did not do well, you will not hear them say, “I failed the paper” rather it was common to hear them remark, “The lecturer failed me”. People tend to boast about their successes but downplay their failures.
Is there anything wrong with boasting? To answer this question, let us examine the verse above. This is coming straight from God and paraphrasing it says, Do not boast in your wisdom, strength or your possessions.
What is peculiar about boasting in these things? A closer examination of these things mentioned, reveal that they are transient in nature. Human wisdom may be relevant for a time but at some point, such wisdom may eventually become irrelevant due to many factors, like technological advancement for instance. Riches, as we all know is not a permanent resident in anyone’s life. People lose money due to many reasons, some of which may not be due to their own fault.
When we boast, we focus on ourselves. We project ourselves with no consideration for others.
There is however something we can boast about according to Jeremiah 9:24, If we must boast, then our boast should be that we understand and know that Lord and what He represents in our lives. He is loving, He is righteous and He is just. These are the things that He takes please in (paraphrase mine)
God is love. He is the embodiment of love. He loved us even when we were unlovable. He gave His only begotten Son to die so that our sins can be forgiven.
God is Righteous. He is perfect in every attribute, attitude and every word. This is the reason why we could never attain that level of righteousness. We are saved only through the righteousness of Christ.
God is just. He is fair in judgment. Human judges sometimes make mistakes by punishing the wrong person for a crime they did not commit. An Illinois man was recently released after being jailed for 20 years for a crime he did not commit. Because God is all-knowing and just, He would not make such an error in judgment.
Let us not boast in the things that are here one day and gone the next. Let us however make our boast in God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)