Thursday, March 27, 2008

Love - Part 4: Does not Brag

“I played that song so well . . . Look at this beautiful dress I sewed . . . You should read the story I just wrote - it’s wonderful! . . .” Perhaps it is more subtle . . . “Didn’t you like the song I played? . . . Isn’t the dress I sewed pretty? . . . Wasn’t the story I wrote good? . . .” How often do words such as these pass our lips? I know that I have been guilty of such on more than one occasion. Yet all of the above are the opposite of love. They are words of bragging. Of bringing praise and attention to oneself. The former set of questions are more obvious, and the latter more subtle as by those questions, one is ‘fishing’ for compliments (praise and adoration for oneself). Even more destructive, though, is the putting down of others to raise oneself up: “I can play that song better than you . . . My dress is so much prettier than hers . . .”

But what causes one to brag? What is the root problem? It is pride in ourselves and in our own accomplishments. A truly humble heart would not even think to brag on her own accomplishments for she knows that the One working through her is the Lord. And that in and of herself, her “righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6). The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans echoes this thought in quoting Psalm 14:1-3: “ ‘. . . There is none who does good . . .’ ” (Romans 3:12). What does Christ say? “ ‘No one is good except God alone.’ ” (Mark 10:18). So as believers, any good that works through us, is because of our Savior, Jesus Christ, working in us through the Holy Spirit. With that in view, who should we direct our praise to? Should we try to bring glory to ourselves or to our Savior?

“ . . . He who boasts is to boast in the LORD. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17)

Yes, may our boast be in the Lord and not in ourselves.

True love, the love of God, "does not brag" (1 Corinthians 13:4). The woman in Proverbs 31 is a shining example of this true and pure heart. She went about her normal activities working, serving, loving. Loving the Lord, loving her family and loving all those she came into contact with. Did she go about and seek praise? Did she laud her own accomplishments? No, she did not. What is said at the end of the chapter? “Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:31). Let her works praise her. Our works, our labors, will speak about where our heart lies. Let others praise us for our works and not ourselves. And let us in our hearts (which can also be expressed verbally), direct the praise back to the Lord.

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

-Posted by Sarah


  1. Thank you for that thoughtful post! I love how you addressed the heart issue behind this matter. If we truly grasped how unable we are to anything good and worthwhile in our own strength, pride would not be a problem.

    Anyway, thanks for your recent comment on my blog! I had actually discovered yours about two weeks ago, and have been popping in now and then. I was surprised to see your comment as this is the first one I've left here! :-) Small world, especially when it comes to the internet!

    God's richest blessings to you!!

  2. This is a topic my husband I were discussing about a week ago and he also brought to my attention that we should be careful of how we compliment the children( and others) because ...

    1. We might create situations that if we do not compliment they are fishing for one or our approval. Which then can lead to confidence issues.

    2 . When we do compliment (especially the children)say what we mean and mean what we say because they take almost everything literally.
    eg. we try not to say things like "you are so good" but instead talk to them about all the good that God is doing through them. As a result rather than boast they praise God because they then realize “ ‘No one is good except God alone.’ ”

  3. Thank you for your comment, Andrea, and for sharing your thoughts on this topic!

    The internet does make the world seem much smaller! We have actually been visiting your blog for some time also (and have been blessed by it!), but just had never commented until recently. :)

    Thank you again!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing those insights, Christina! Both are very true.

    We were encouraged to hear how you and your husband are training and teaching your children. How blessed they are to have parents such as you! It is not common to see parents teaching their children the ways of the Lord (especially when the children are at such a young age!).

  5. Thank you for posting that. I can find it difficult not to brag, though I can't quite work out whether saying something you make looks dreadful is fishing for praise or not... probably is with me.

    Praise I get from others without me having to prompt them is always much nicer, anyway. Learning to be truly humble is and will always be a blessing to our lives.

    I am beginning to learn to feel that whatever we ourselves do, when compared to what our Lord did, it is nothing, and not only that, but also defiled by our sinfulness. Therefore, it is true that we should only glorify in God.

  6. Very true and insightful post! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you for your comment, Jerusha! It was a blessing to us. :)

    It is often difficult to determine whether or not what we say is truly bragging or not. We know that this has been the case in our lives! The root issue, as mentioned in the post, is our heart condition. Why are we saying what we are? Is it to direct attention and praise to ourselves?

    What you shared is so true – our goal and aim should be to bring glory and praise to God alone.

    Thank you again for sharing!

  8. Thank you, Emily, for your comment - it was encouraging to us. :)