We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. (Philippians 3:20)
As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Galatians 6:14)
Citizens of most countries express a certain pride in their nation. During this Olympic season, we will see it displayed in anthems, parades, cheers, and flags. In the USA, this pride in country takes many forms. One common phrase is, Im proud to be an American.
Passing by a supermarket recently here in Brazil, an advertising banner in the parking lot read, Pride at being Brazilian. Same idea, different language.
The Christian also expresses a similar sentiment, though even the idea itself has a new twist when applied to faith in Jesus. This pride does not focus on any collective achievement or national standard, but on a single person. Ive not done anything worthy of note. Nor we as a group. So I take pride in who Jesus is and what he has accomplished on the cross.
There must be no boasting, especially as it is often displayed, with bitter jealousy or selfish ambition (James 3:14). Our boasting is in the Lord, who raises up the lowly and mows down the rich (James 1:9). The Christians glory is found in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:3) and his cross (Galatians 6:14).
Not even boasting in good works is allowed; the good in us is Gods gracious work in us through Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10). Here, the self-made man is a joke. In fact, we are so delighted to see Jesus at work, that when we preach and others are saved by his hand, they become our glory as well: You are our glory and joy, Paul says (1 Thessalonians 2:20).
Nope, if we boast about ourselves, the focus is upon our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9) and tribulations (Romans 5:3). Even then, we are proud of these only because the power of God becomes evident to strengthen us and make us persevere.
This whole idea goes a long way back (Jeremiah 9:23-24):
This is what the LORD says: Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!
Paul picks up Jeremiahs phrase several times to drive home the point to Christians(1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17; cf. Galatians 6:14).
So you think you have something to be proud of? Think again: ... as it is written, Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.
© 2002, Randal Matheny. Used by permission from FORTHRIGHT Magazine.
Title: "I'm Proud to Be a Christian"
Author: Randal Matheny
Publication Date: February 21, 2002