Eli’s eyes are literally “dim” in 1 Samuel 3:2. Now we have an image of a lamp almost going out. The light it casts is dim. But it is not yet extinguished. There is still hope. – Tim Chester
Do you brag a lot?
Do you brag about your accomplishments, your accolades, your abilities?
Going through my high school and college years at the same time that social media exploded, I lived in a time where bragging was normal, even encouraged.
Only recently, through conversations with men who care about me, and through time in God’s Word, I’ve learned just how foolish that is.
But it sure is hard not to sometimes.
It’s how many of us are wired. Our wicked hearts want glory. Our wicked hearts want praise.
A couple moments last year illustrated just how hungry for human praise I am. One happened over the summer.
Our student ministry had home groups over the summer in lieu of normal youth group. This was done to build community and camaraderie amongst all of our students. It was a great time.
Well, Jamie and I live in a duplex (Until March 9th! We just bought a house!), and so we outgrew that space. We had to start having our Sunday night home group at the church instead of in our home.
This was purely the work of God.
But I wanted to let people know about the 0% of it that was my doing.
So I snapped a couple photos and then posted them on our Facebook with a caption of “Look what God is doing! We outgrew our space! #Blessed” or something like that. The classic humble brag. Drawing attention to growth in our youth group. I’m not saying that my heart or intentions were to manipulate or to draw attention to myself. But if I’m being honest, that was probably part of it.
We all do it.
We all pride ourselves on our abilities, our accomplishments, our accolades.
Last week, I was reading in Jeremiah. And a passage leaped off the page and punched me in the gut. Metaphorically speaking.
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,”
declares the Lord.
– Jeremiah 9:23-24
Wow. What a powerful word.
The wise aren’t to boast in their wisdom. The rich aren’t to boast in their riches. The strong aren’t to boast in their strength.
The only thing the people of God have to boast in?
That they have the understanding (from God) to know God. The God who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness (all of which He delights in). That’s it! That’s the only thing they have to boast in.
Man, I wish we read the prophets more. I understand why most people don’t. There are some hard indictments against the people of God in these passages. Some tough love. Some parts of Scripture that we want to avoid. We want the God who loves, but we don’t want the love of God that leads to rebuke. We want to feel happy any time we read Scripture, we don’t want to be corrected.
When I put my social media posts up against this passage, I am quickly shown just how prone to prideful boasting I am.
Now, I’m not saying that we can never show other people our accomplishments. It’s how we show them. It’s how we present them. It’s why we’re presenting them.
What’s our motivation?
For instance, a great young man I’ve been meeting and hanging out with over the last year was in a stock show in San Antonio this weekend. Now, although I live in a country town, I know literally nothing about stock shows. So, I’m not sure what it all means but he won a big award this weekend. His mom shared about it on Facebook, praising God, praising her son, and praising the tribe that was in his corner throughout this whole process. There was nothing wrong with that in my mind at all.
However, recently, I preached on a Sunday morning at my church. I quickly went to Facebook and posted about it, hoping to rake in heart emojis and praise for my preaching abilities.
My motivation was askew.
My motivation was to obtain glory and praise for myself, not the Lord.
So, what about you?
What’s your motivation?
What is your motivation for the things you share on Facebook? What is the motivation for the things you bring up in conversation? If you’re pointing to yourself a lot, like I do, you’re likely operating in a place of pride that the Bible confronts here in this passage.
However, if you’re striving to point to others and to point to Jesus, then you’re in the right place.
The only thing we have in life to brag about is the fact that God allows us to have a relationship with Him by His grace.
In His Name,