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If I Brag

If I Brag

11 April 2010

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 1; 2 Corinthians 11

Scripture:

If I have to “brag” about myself, I’ll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. (2 Corinthians 11:30 MSG)

Paul had been goaded into bragging. The Jewish “super-apostles,” because of their heritage, education, and oratorical skills, had captured the attention and admiration of the Corinthian believers. The problem was, their lives didn’t match their teaching and Paul knew there was heartbreak ahead as the Corinthians fed on flowery words and boastful oratory and their souls starved for the milk and meat of God’s word.

So Paul bragged on himself. But Paul bragged on his sacrifice and suffering and not on his Jewish heritage, his education, and his popularity.

It’s hard to be humble, unless, like me, you’ve got a lot to be humble about! When our credibility, our accomplishments, or our status is challenged or unfavorably compared, it’s hard not to react defensively with a little bragging of our own.

Sometimes we want to say, “I’m just as good as you! In fact, I’m better!” Sometimes we want to say, “I work harder than anyone around here! It’s time everybody noticed that I get there earlier, stay later, and work harder than the lot of you!” Sometimes we want to say, “Nobody, and I mean nobody has sacrificed and suffered like I have. See these scars? It’s time I had a little recognition for my pain!”

Paul said, “That kind of thinking is spiritual quicksand. I’m not going to get caught up in a bragging competition. When I suffer and don’t make a martyr of myself, I become a little more like Jesus for whom I’m suffering. When I work hard and don’t care if everyone notices, it changes me for the better. When I don’t care who gets the credit for the success, I experience a fellowship with Jesus that I can’t get any other way.”

Prayer:

Father, Please forgive me for the times I’ve compared myself and my achievements with others. I know that whether I come out favorably or unfavorably in such comparisons, I lose. I don’t want to have to learn the hard way how silly it is to compare with others and crave recognition. I purpose to serve with joy and to do my best to keep my mouth shut and my heart open. Please make it so.

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