I’m the greatest,” heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali boasted often during his heyday.
This sort of proclamation is not all that rare in sports today. Any athlete knows that having confidence in your abilities is crucial to personal success in your sport. If you doubt that you have what it takes, you’ll often fail. However, moving from quiet confidence to bragging or boasting is a journey the Christian—whether an athlete, an accountant, or an architect—simply should not take.
The obnoxious boasting that spews from the mouth of an athlete is clearly rooted in a heart filled with pride. This heart of pride and arrogance is what the apostle Paul wrote against in his letter to the church in Corinth. In spite of the pious attitude of the Corinthian believers, Paul told them they had nothing in themselves to boast about. He wrote to challenge them to see that only by God’s grace did they have anything to boast about at all.
In 1 Corinthians 1:27–29 Paul wrote, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
What does this mean for you and me? Basically, don’t boast about things such as your athletic prowess, your good looks, your successful career, or your moral lifestyle. God is the One who gives these things to you. He is the One who has chosen to use you for His purposes. He deserves the credit.
So if you must boast, boast in the Lord!