My mama taught me that it isn’t nice to brag, and I’ll bet yours did too.
But it turns out that our mamas weren’t quite right. The Bible actually endorses bragging as long as it’s bragging (or the word is actually boasting) in the right person. Here’s how Paul says it to the Corinthians:
“We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (II Corinthians 10:14-17)
Paul uses the word “boast” over and over again in his letters to the Corinthians, and when I was teaching on this passage in a session from my Breaking Up with Perfect retreat, I took a look at the definition of the root word. In scripture, the word boast could also be translated as “rejoicing in” or “glorying in.”
Our Proverbs 31 speaker team had a call last week, and Lynn Cowell began to encourage us to boast more– to boast in what we are seeing the Lord do as we go and speak.
I find it hard to break that old habit of not boasting at all, but I think Lynn’s right. When we boast in Jesus’ work instead of our own, it’s something entirely different. It’s rejoicing in Him. It’s giving Him the glory. Boasting encourages the people around us. It reaffirms the continuing work of God. It gives people hope that if God works in that situation, He can work in theirs too.
Listen to how my friend Sharon Glasgow did it on her Facebook page:
“Our 87 year old ‘Farmer’ neighbor fell off his tractor, it rolled over his chest, crushing bones and causing internal damage. He laid on the ground for 4 hours and couldn’t move. When help found him, they said his cows surrounded him in a circle! We asked the neighbor telling us the story what they were doing, he said, ‘Praying!, The Farmer came to a wedding in our barn this past weekend. Yep! He’s alive, well and still farming! God’s got more work for him here!” ~Sharon Glasgow
Sharon is always overflowing with stories of God’s power, and I often read her bragging on Him on Facebook by telling what she has seen Him do at her speaking events.
I want to begin this practice of bragging on Jesus! So here I go:
Last weekend I spoke at Highland Baptist Church in New London, NC. To tell you the truth, even though the women were warm and complimentary as they left, I wasn’t sure if my message had made much of an impact. I collected all my things,including the cards on which they had written a break up letter to Perfect, and left. The next day, I fished the break up letters out of my bag and began to read. Tears filled my eyes when I realized that Jesus had truly set women free. They declared freedom from:
- Being in control of everything
- Fixing everyone
- Being judgmental, critical, and complaining
- The insecurity of caring what others think of them more than what God thinks
- Trying to be what they’re not
- Feeling unworthy and not good enough
- Working to do everything right
- Trying to make everyone like them
- Playing games
- Worrying about not measuring up or having all the answers
- Competing with others
- Shame and feeling inferior
- Being embarrassed by their physical appearance
- Fear of not meeting expectations
- Trying to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect friend and keep a perfectly clean home
- Feeling shame over past sin
- Jealousy and distrust
- Feeling responsibility for a loved one’s betrayal
- Handling all the problems for their children
- Holding on to hate
Whew! Y’all!!! Jesus was doing tremendous work behind those beautiful, smiling faces, and I wouldn’t have know if they hadn’t been so honest in their break up letters.
So I’m bragging on Him. He is good, and He is at work. How about you? Would you brag on Jesus here? How have you seen Him at work lately?