What Should We Boast About?
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Please open your Bible and read Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14.
Jonah had just fled from God, almost caused a shipwreck, been thrown overboard, and was swallowed by a whale. He was a prophet of God, and yet he sinned against God by fleeing from Him. As he sat inside the whale, did he repent of his deeds? Hardly. In fact, listen carefully to what he says:
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.” (Jonah 2:8-9)
Sounds a little like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable, doesn’t it? Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector to “some who were confident of their own righteousness”. (Luke 18:9) The Pharisee thought by fasting twice a week and tithing he was made right with God. However, no one has the ability to justify themselves before God. Jesus explains that the tax collector, who humbly asked for forgiveness of his sin, “went home justified before God” while the Pharisee did not (v14). The apostle Paul explains that “a person is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16, TNIV).
We all sometimes feel superior to others and boast about how we are superior to “evildoers”. In reality, however, “No one is good – except God alone.” (Luke 18:19) Don’t pray “God, I thank you that I am not like that Pharisee” because then you’d be making the very same mistake that the Pharisee made. Instead of disparaging others, remember that we have nothing to boast about ourselves (that should keep us humble) and that it is only by God’s loving grace that we are saved: Boast about God has done instead!
“Let those who boast boast in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 10:17, TNIV)
Question: Are there situations where we feel superior to others? How can we guard against those kinds of feelings?