We all have things in life that makes us feel very proud. Whether it is a new car, a job, an educational achievement, a new relationship, a dream home, long awaited vacation, children or grandchildren, we are so elated about whatever it is. There is a desire to share our good news to all who will listen. It is a wonderful and heartwarming thing to have something special going on in our lives. Most of us rejoice with others as they successfully move through life. My grandson recently started high school and I went around showing the picture of his first day, to anyone who paused long enough to look at it. He was dressed up in his khaki slacks and navy blazer with the school emblem, sporting a big smile.
It’s easy to boast about pleasant occurrences. These are the things that seem to define who we are. They are an expression of our hard work and fortitude. Most of us strive for excellence; favorable outcomes are our just rewards. How many people do you know who find pleasure in unveiling their weaknesses and their faults? Ordinarily we seek to hide our character flaws and idiosyncrasies and accent the positives. Besides, it’s only human to put our best foot forward.
Take a look at our society. So, how far will we go to accomplish fame, fortune and notoriety? It used to be the rich and famous that captured the hearts and minds of everyday people. In the past, entertainers and professional athletes set the standard regarding what was fashionable and acceptable behavior. This trend served to cultivate and increase the tolerance level for all kinds of immoral behavior. With the advent of reality TV, everyday people are on the rise in setting the tone for what’s acceptable. Many people thrive on the unrealistic lifestyle of the Housewives of Atlanta, (or whatever city), Preachers Kids, Bad Girls Club and Teen Mom, which are only a few of the three hundred reality shows listed on one website. For most participants involved in reality television, I’m sure to them “it’s something to boast about.”
We often find ways to rationalize our shortcomings. We look for something or someone else to blame. This behavior tends to somehow exempt us from taking responsibility for sins that are often call “mistakes,” deliberate acts of rebellion against God, that are labeled as “being human,” and failures that are viewed just as a “part of life.” Weakness is a flaw that society views as undesirable. We must be better, stronger, faster and unrelenting to make a mark in this world, by whatever means necessary. Aggression is considered an asset to eradicate the weak, the little guy, in order to acknowledge someone of prominence. Society recognizes and rewards us for being uncompromising and driven; to achieve goals no matter how high the cost. Some unscrupulous people are given bonuses, promotions, awards, trophies and other forms of recognition for unethical and/or immoral conduct. Men and women are applauded for their fierce and manipulative business strategies, regardless of who gets hurt. People are encouraged to forge ahead in a society where it’s all about the “survival of the fittest.” I grieve at the idea of embracing the world’s view of how to look at life and accomplishments. To some extent, we all grapple with placing too much credence on the things of this world. I pray, May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world, Galatians 6:14 (NIV).
The word of God sets a completely different view from the world. The Apostle Paul says, I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and he heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong, II Corinthians 12: 1-10 (NIV). The good news is that we don’t have to reach a state of perfection to reap the benefits of God’s grace and mercy.
It’s difficult to be humble in a society where everything is focused on self-preservation. There are times when I find myself thanking God for the tears, the heartaches, the disappointments and trials in life. I know that even though I don’t understand at the time, these things serve to remind me that all things are working for my good and I am being made perfect in Christ Jesus. It’s a struggle, but the sacrifice of praise, especially during difficult times, brings honor to God. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted, Matthew 23:12 (NIV). Humility positions us to hear from God and to respond according to His will. It is He who makes and shapes us into what He would have us to be. All we have to do is “Turn Readily Unto the Savior’s Truth,” in other words, just TRUST God.
Now, that’s “Something to Boast About.”