The topic of this week’s C13 study is: “Love does not boast.” I’m sure we all know of someone who loves to “share” what they have accomplished or what their kid did the other day that was amazing. We all have this type of people in our lives. And I know that we all have similar feelings about that type of person. I also know that if we are truly honest we all have had moments when we wanted to be that person too. What makes us want to brag? To shout our successes from the roof top? I think there are two underlying causes that lead us to brag.
The first is our desire for acceptance. We want to be loved. We want to be cherished. We want someone to think we are all that! So in our humanness when we finally do accomplish something we want others to notice and praise us. Unfortunately, we sometimes go a little overboard and throw it in someone’s face. Instead of just letting our actions do our talking, we focus on getting others yo give us our deeply desired praise. We desperately want others to be pleased with us, and we find ourselves rambling on and on about our accomplishments in hopes that they will like us.
The second is our desire to prove to others that we are who we want to be. We feel like we need to compete with those around us, to prove that we can keep up with the Jones’. We have what it takes and we take every opportunity to secure our status. I came across a devotional today that talks about the difference between boasting and pride and I think it explains this pitfall quite nicely…
“And while there is nothing wrong with communicating the excitement we feel regarding whatever ‘good news’ we have; we must be careful not to cross the line between sharing our joy and rubbing someone’s nose into our good fortune. The difference lies with the intent—Are you conveying your news to feel better about yourself, to elevate your status in someone else’s eyes, or to make them envious of you? If so, you have crossed the line into ‘Boastful’ territory!”
Whether it is our deep desire to be accepted or our craving to prove we deserve what we have – both can be fixed with a change in perspective. Funny how a lot of things can be solved by a looking at it from a different angle!
One perspective change can be found in the following scripture passages:
Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
If our focus is to please God and not man, then our desire to let others know what great thing we did will be decreased. It it not wrong to tell others about the good that has happened in our lives, but our attitude in telling them will be different. We will no longer be seeking approval, but instead be excited to tell them what God has done in your own life. When we switch our focus to glorifying God instead of ourselves we please God and also benefit from His approval. His approval is the only approval that matters, which brings us to our next point!
The next perspective change can be found in Matthew 6. I am going to only focus on the first few verses, but if you have time it would be worth reading the whole chapter. This perspective change helps you focus on the correct end goal.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
If your goal is to get approval here on earth, then you are missing our ultimate goal. We should be focusing our time on eternal matters, not earthly. Remember our focus should be on fulfilling the plan God has for our lives and seeking approval from Him. At the end of our lives it will only matter what He thinks of you, not your neighbor or a MOPS friend. I deeply desire to hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
I pray that in the meantime I will be able to decrease my desire for man’s approval. I want to be satisfied with only seeking God’s praise and not my friends. I am not there yet, but there is freedom in knowing that only God’s opinion matters. Let’s move in that direction together!
This week’s assignment:
1.) Do you desperately want someone to notice you and approve of what you are doing? Do you have someone in your life like that? Ask God to show you how to let it go, to no longer seek their approval but to be confident of who you are in Christ.
2.) Do you know that God is pleased with you and that He loves you? Yes, you make mistakes, but your are still His child and He desires to show you the way. Spend time with God asking Him to reveal the gifts and talents He has given you. Then ask Him to show you how to use them for His glory. He’s got a plan and I know He can’t wait to reveal it to you!!