For the most part, I really don’t enjoy listening to postgame, on-field interviews of athletes. If the interviewee is on the winning side, too often the interview amounts to boasting about how he is faster, stronger or smarter than his opponent. We live in a day where self-promotion is encouraged and expected. This is an aspect of our society with which I am not comfortable. Perhaps this is why these two verses in Jeremiah jumped out at me when I read them this morning:
“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)
For believers, if we are to boast at all, let it be boasting about the God we serve. Let us boast about that God makes himself understandable to us. Let us boast that God allows us to know him and be in relationship with him.
We have a reason for boasting, but that reason is not us. Let us boast about God’s character.
If we understand God’s character and boast about it, some of that character is bound to rub off on us. Please look at the list that is given in the verses above.
- Steadfast love
If ware know God and are in relationship with him, it seems to me that these traits should be increasingly operational in our lives both individually and collectively. If we are seeking hard after God, it should be these traits that define the church.
Ask yourself these questions,
- Are visitors to my church enveloped by a sense of God’s steadfast love (lovingkindness in the NASB)?
- Is my congregations known for pursuing justice in the local community and around the world?
- Do I convey an accurate portrayal of true righteousness, that which is granted by God through a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Not only is this a corporate challenge for us as we gather on Sundays, this is a challenge to us as individuals. We should be in prayer to God and give him permission to work these traits into the fabric of our lives. Paul tells us:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13, ESV)
Notice that there is effort required on our part. We need to extend effort toward becoming what God wants us to be. But ultimately it is God who works these traits into us. We need to allow Scripture to shape our desires and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is a good news, bad news situation.
The bad news is that we fall short in love, justice and righteousness. The good news is that God is not done with us.