Don’t know why it was on our radar, but it was. Can’t really point to anything in either of our backgrounds that caused us to discuss this early in our married life, but we did. As I recall it, after the birth of our first child, or maybe it was after the second, we consciously and verbally agreed that we would not find our worth through our kids.. We resolved that we would not put the pressure on our girls to be responsible for our sense of accomplishment. That what they did or who they became would not be the basis for how we would feel about ourselves. Sure, we wanted them to do their best. We were proud when they shone because of their character or conduct. But we would not press their performance so that we could feel good about ourselves.
And it’s not just our kids that we might be tempted to define our achievements by. For some, it could be their career–how well they’ve done climbing the ladder. For others it might be how much they know. Some might measure the weight of their accomplishments by the size of their bank accounts or the number of toys in their yard. Still others might attach worth to how well groomed and tuned their body is. Not saying that any of these things aren’t valid things to pursue and enjoy. But, after reading in Jeremiah this morning, I’m reminded that none of these are really what we should be boasting about. But that there is something else to glory in.
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)
They just hadn’t got it. Somehow they figured they could go through the motions of worshiping the God of Israel and still service the god of their appetites and the god of the world. The people of God thought they could bring their offerings to the altar of Jehovah in the morning and then bow down before the altar of Baal in the afternoon. That they could claim all the benefits of being the chosen of the Holy One of Israel, with little or no thought as to their own personal pursuit of holiness. That they could listen to God’s word and then decide to follow their own hearts. For far too long the people had been on the slippery slope of “perpetual backsliding” (Jer. 8:5), finding their sense of well-being in all the wrong things. And in the midst of God’s word through Jeremiah pronouncing judgment on a wayward and hard-hearted people, the Almighty makes an appeal, “Glory in something else.”
“Boast in this,” says our God, “that you understand and know Me.” That you get what makes Me tick. That I am the God of steadfast love. That by My very nature I define love (1Jn. 4:8, 16). And that I am the God who delights in justice, placing a premium on integrity and impartiality. Moreover, that I am the God who, because of my very being, demands holiness. So much so, that I sent my Son to cleanse away the impurity of sin and replace it with His own Divine perfection. Crediting righteousness to the account of everyone who believes.
Exult in this, that through My word and by My Spirit you have, in some measure, come to possess the mind of Christ who is the radiance of My glory and the exact imprint of My nature. Brag about the fact that the things of this earth continue to grow dim as the pursuit of a heavenly kingdom becomes more prominent. And this not because of your great works, but by the great work in you by Him who has called you to be His own.
So many things that we can attach our carts to. So many things that we can look to for how successful we are. So many things we can glory in. But there’s something else to glory in.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14 ESV)
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
(1John 5:20 ESV)
I will glory in something else. I will boast in the LORD my God.
By His grace. For His glory.