3 things Scripture encourages us to boast about

the most excellent way Feb 19, 2024

I will show you the most excellent way…love…does not boast. (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:4)

George Washington Carver had captivated the United States Congress. It was January 1921, and Carver was testifying about the dozens of different foods he had learned how to make out of peanuts: ice cream, cereal, pickles—the list went on and on. 

Amused, one congressman asked where Carver learned how to do this. “From a book,” Carver replied. What book? the congressman wanted to know. “The Bible,” Carver said. “I didn’t make these discoveries,” Carver explained. “God has only worked through me to reveal to his children some of his wonderful providence.”

What a terrific example of the “the most excellent way” Paul calls us to at work: without boasting. The NASB translates this passage as saying, “love does not brag.” The NKJV says “love does not parade itself.” Because that is the example we have in Christ, the perfect personification of love.

John 8:53 records a religious leader asking Jesus, “Are you greater than our father Abraham?” Christ, of course, had every reason to boast and answer that question in the affirmative. But instead, he replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me” (John 8:54).

That’s the rationale behind Paul’s command to “not boast.” I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to boast about nothing. Maybe I’m just an excitable, exuberant guy, but I think all of us feel the need to boast in or praise something.

Scripture seems to agree, which is why I think God’s Word doesn’t just tell us what not to boast about. It also encourages us to boast about three things.

#1: Boast about the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 1:31). This is what we saw in George Washington Carver. When offered an opportunity to boast in his professional accomplishments, he pivoted to boast in God.

#2: Boast about your weaknesses (see 2 Corinthians 11:30). Why? Because when we’re transparent about our weaknesses and we succeed, it allows us to point to the Lord as the source of our strength. 

#3: Boast about others. Paul had no problem boasting about his co-workers (see 2 Corinthians 7:4). Neither should we. I was reminded of this recently when speaking with a reader who really impressed me. I was about to invite this guy onto my podcast, but before I could, he said, “Man, you should have my boss Tim on your show!” 

Here’s my challenge for you this morning: Identify one thing you’re tempted to boast about today—closing a deal, getting a promotion, whatever. Next, jot down how you can reframe your boast to brag not in yourself, but in the Lord, your weaknesses, or others.


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