"..We GLORY in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.." [Philippians 3:3]
The word "glory" can be translated to mean "boast" which gives the picture of proclaiming publicly a satisfied contemtnet with one's own or another's achievements.
"A SATISIFIED CONTENTMENT."
Wow. Think about that statement.
Do those words describe how you feel about the work of Jesus in you behalf? Or, does that really describe the way you feel about what you bring to the table, what you can do for the church, how well you can perform for the team? Do you rest in your leadership edge, your ability to preach, your business skills, your athletic talent, your work ethic?
I write this because I can catch myself being more excited about my obedience than the obedience of Jesus on my behalf. I write this because I see how damaging it can be to put more confidence in what I can do for Jesus than what Jesus has done for me. I can sense this growing contentment with what I have done and can do, how hard I can work and grind. This is much more subtle than we would like to realize. We look at ourselves too long in the mirror, gazing at our small acts of obedience as if to impress God and pull down extra blessings and love. We quietly flex our accomplishments around others as if to convince them that we really are as "spiritual" as we speak. Maybe it's just me. Maybe you don't have a problem with this. But if you do, let me humbly share some things that may help transfer your boasting in the right direction.
1. Get your head into the Bible. It is really hard to, after spending time truly reading the words of the Scriptures, come away from that time thinking YOU had anything to do with your salvation. If anything, reading the Bible should make you realize a greater depth of your depravity and a greater need of Jesus' GRACE.
2. Get around people who magnify Jesus over themselves. If the people you are spending your time with talk more about themselves and what they have and can do rather than what Jesus has and is doing - RUN!!! Ok, maybe you don't have to ditch them as friends, but surround yourselves with people who get it - who understand that they are nothing with out Jesus and they owe all to Him. Get around people who understand and live from the reality that their obedience doesn't add to their righteousness - it never will. Get around people who understand they are dirtbags without Jesus and perfect only because of Jesus.
3. Pray more than you think you should. This is a hard one for me. I'd rather get my hands dirty working, doing things, moving the mission forward. Yet, prayer is something we can do that will posture our hearts in the right place. Honest, transparent and continual prayer is one of the most important things you can do to stay humble and tethered to walking by God's Spirit. It will help you lean into God more, implying you will begin to lean less on yourself. It will help you gain a larger view of God and put yourself in right perspective.
Boast. Go ahead, boast with ALL YOUR HEART AND STRENGTH!
Just guard your soul to make sure it is in the right direction.
The direction of Jesus and His work, not yours.
And please, if you know me or spend time around me, call me out on this! If you see or sense that I am boasting in the wrong direction, snap me back to reality, back to the Gospel. I need it.