Bragging on Jesus [Part 2]

By Alan Wright — August 27, 2018

Are you ready for some good news?

Self-forgetfulness is freedom; boasting in Christ is joy.

Today’s Texts: ““Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”” (2 Cor. 10:17, ESV)

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:29–30, ESV)

Paul’s opponents in Corinth, the self-proclaimed “super apostles,” evidently made a habit of boasting about all their accomplishments and their dazzling spirituality. These so-called “super apostles” criticized Paul for his apparent weaknesses. Paul wasn’t prosperous enough. He wasn’t impressive enough to be an apostle. These were the critics’ claims.

But Paul, instead of fighting the critics at their own game, changed the playing field altogether. In satirical tone, Paul says essentially: “Oh, you want to boast do you? Boasting is the key to being an apostle? Well then – I will boast indeed. I will boast in all my weaknesses.”

Paul’s point is plain: The deepest affirmation and truest contentment comes not from the exaltation of self but the exaltation of Christ.

I’ll never forget the day that we dropped off our son at college. He was a homeschooled, North Carolina boy launching into a new world at Baylor University in Waco, Texas where he knew only one person. I was excited for him but I also wondered and worried and prayed.

From the time Bennett was conceived until the day we deposited him in Waco, the boy had known our love. He had been honored again and again – winning debate tournaments, golf tournaments and earning academic accolades. What would it be like to just be one of 15,000 students? An unknown kid amongst the masses with no mom or dad or coach or teacher on the ready to celebrate his every accomplishment.

About a month into his freshman year, I was in Texas for a conference and had opportunity to visit Bennett at school. He told me how much he loved it. He loved everything about college – the classes, the people he was meeting, the church he had found. Then he volunteered: “You know Dad, I was walking across campus the other day and it occurred to me that no one here knows anything about any of my accomplishments. They don’t know that I’ve won debate tournaments and golf tournaments or that I’m here on scholarship.” And then he added, “And, I realized, I’m OK with that. I don’t need anyone to know about that stuff.” I could have just wept for joy upon hearing those words of gold.

Real freedom doesn’t arrive through great accomplishments and real joy doesn’t come via the world’s accolades. Real freedom comes from not needing all that. Real joy is in Christ. That’s what Paul had. And that’s the inheritance of every Christian who learns to boast in Jesus rather than self. And that’s the Gospel!

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