This is great advice in the age of social media. Boxing legend Mike Tyson once said (of social media), “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it.” Log on to any social platform and you’ll find people bragging, arguing, insulting, and more. I’m guilty of it; I bet you’ve had your run-in’s as well.
It comes from thinking too much of ourselves, of thinking we are what we aren’t. That we’re better than we are. This isn’t to say that some peoples’ abilities aren’t worthy of praise. Achievement, Godly-character and actions, and more are always praiseworthy. What’s best in humanity is worth self-pride; it’s a good thing to realize you’ve been kind, talented, and good at something.
But let’s, please, stop there. If we think we’re more than we are, then we’re deceiving ourselves. It’s not just the Apostle Paul saying this: it’s common sense. It’s how the world works.
Tom Brady has natural, God-given talent to be a quarterback. Larry Ellison has natural, God-given talent to be the CEO of a software company. Billy Graham had natural, God-given talent to preach the gospel to large audiences. My mother-in-law has natural, God-given talent to be the best cook in the American South. You know people who have abilities to do things in a superb manner. They bring to bear ability, passion, interest, and circumstances to produce wonderful things, whether it be football games, Microsoft, vibrant crusades for Christ, or the best coconut cream pie in Florida. If they bragged about that ability, it wouldn’t be unwarranted.
But let the bragging stop there. Let them (and each of us with our talents) brag that they are on loan from God (as Rush Limbaugh used to say, he being a talented personality). If Tom, Larry, Billy, Connie, or Rush tried to, say, trim trees or implement HealthRules or design treehouses or raise crops in the desert or work in a call center, perhaps their output would be considerably different and less. Perhaps there should be no bragging at all because he who thinks he is something that he is not is deceiving himself (or herself).
The best way to think of ourselves is to remember we are redeemed children of the Most High. That He Himself bought us back from sin by shedding His own perfect blood. That He pours His Spirit into our lives to do things on His behalf so that others may come to know Him, too. THAT is the only thing of which we should boast. Try putting that on Twitter or Facebook.
For further reading: Romans 12:3, 1 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 8:2, Galatians 6:4
Father, let my only boast today be to be Your child, Your servant in this world.
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