Have you ever been in a conversation and realized you sound more like a walking, talking résumé than a human being? It’s easy to do, and Lord knows, I’ve been there. In a culture that so highly values and esteems credentials and qualifications, it’s easy to slip into a conversational pattern of only sharing your most recent wins.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to celebrate our joys and successes with our friends, family, and community. But if we’re not careful, we can slowly digress into the realm of one-upmanship and humble brags. Maybe it’s not so overt for you, but rather an, “Aw-shucks, here’s my latest, awesome thing.” Or perhaps on social media you’re just harmlessly sharing your best, #blessed life.
While a lot has changed for humanity and the body of Christ since Paul’s day, it seems like basic human inclinations have not. Paul’s reminder to “boast in the Lord” alone was as much a reminder to himself as it was to his audience (2 Corinthians 10:17). It seems like he would’ve been the first to admit this.
I imagine for each of us, there are different areas of our lives or different social circles that prompt us toward more of a “look at me” posture. So apart from avoiding people and social media altogether, I think there are some practical steps we can take.
The first antidote to boasting is living with a focused memory. The Israelites lost their way when they forgot the history of God’s mighty deeds and His steadfast love. We are prone to do the same, focusing on our own strengths because we’ve forgotten the blessings of God that have led us to where we are today.
Another antidote to boasting is curiosity. In developing a healthy sense of curiosity, we begin asking more questions of others and seek to learn more of their expertise. Some of the most humble and influential men and women I’ve ever met are phenomenally curious question-askers.
My prayer for us today is that we’d hone our sense of memory, and deepen our sense of wonder and curiosity. These practices will help us boast more frequently in the Lord and His mighty works, acknowledging His rightful place of power and authority over our lives. They will also help us celebrate the victories of those around us. Surprisingly, I think we’ll find ourselves feeling more whole, purposeful, and confident in our calling and identity as a member of the body of Christ.
Written by Andrew Stoddard