Boasting, for the most part, is not considered cool in Christian circles. But it really depends on what you’re boasting, or glorying, in. Paul was a boaster . . . though not concerning himself. He would boast in the cross (Gal. 6:14) . . . glorying in the work of redemption . . . pointing to the wonder of a God who so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. He would boast of others (2Thess. 1:4) . . . bragging about the reality of new creations in Christ as their faith grew and their love abounded, evidence of the Spirit’s working in them. When it came to himself, he would boast of his weakness . . . as it became a platform from which to display the sufficiency of the enabling power of Christ that was resting on him (2Cor. 12:9). And this morning, as I’m reading 2Corinthians 1, I read of Paul boasting in something else . . .
For our boast is this: the testimony of our conscience that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. (2Corinthians 1:12 ESV)
Conducting oneself in simplicity . . . and godly sincerity . . . not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God . . . this is conduct worthy of glorying in . . . you might say these are “boastful behaviors.”
The world throws a lot at us. Maze like paths to navigate . . . obstacles to overcome . . . people cutting us off . . . a riptide of popular opinion and approach seeking to suck us in . . . all demanding we react . . . all requiring that we make decisions. And there’s a way to do it that is “walking in a manner worthy of our calling” (Eph. 4:1) . . . and a way, not so much.
As I noodle on it this morning, Paul lays out some pretty basic principles for walking the talk.
Simplicity . . . singleness of mind . . . mental honesty . . . just being who we are in Christ. Admitting we’re jars of clay . . . but jars of clay that hold a treasure. Knowing that we are weak . . . but also confident that He is strong. Aware of the presence of the flesh . . . but seeking to walk in the Spirit. So aware we don’t have all the answers . . . so sure that His Word does. Not over complicating or over engineering things . . . just pilgrims walking the pilgrim path on our way home. Simplicity is a boastful behavior.
Godly sincerity . . . a holy clearness as to who we are in Christ . . . a purity of purpose in desiring to be imitators of Christ. Doing life in the power of His risen life . . . with integrity . . . with consistency. Not getting fancy . . . not putting on a show . . . just sheep seeking to hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow faithfully . . . just members of the Body trying to find their place . . . brothers and sisters in the family of God wanting to love one another . . . living stones in the temple of the living God longing to be a place where His glory dwells. Godly sincerity is a boastful behavior.
Finally, behaving ourselves by the grace of God. Aware that any desire to follow in the Way . . . that any degree to which we walk in a manner that’s worthy . . . is not because of who we are . . . or how wise we are . . . but solely because of the unmerited favor He has poured into and over our lives. Those who have known God’s amazing grace desiring to conduct their lives in the context of grace. Forsaking the world’s filters and scorecards and, instead, increasingly experiencing a view of the world shaped by the mind and heart of Christ. Living in and by the grace of God . . . this is boastful behavior.
Boastful behavior . . . conduct worthy of boasting in . . . a manner of life fit to be gloried in . . . knowing that the glorying isn’t in ourselves . . . so aware that credit is not ours to claim . . .
. . . It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20b ESV)
O’ that I would be more characterized by these “boastful behaviors” . . . by His grace . . . for His glory.