Posts Tagged brag

Let There be Peace

Galatians 5: 26

Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

This verse captured my attention last week. It’s one of those which I think we read and nod our heads in immediate agreement. We shouldn’t boast or brag, okay. Envy is just wrong, okay but what of challenging one another. What does that mean?

I was intrigued by this verse when I read it from the Amplified version, “Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.” So, I think we pretty well understand that we are not supposed to present ourselves in conceit and arrogance. Envy, yeah we’ve got a handle on that too. However, would you have said that God has spoken about competitiveness, provocation, and irritation? It is pretty easy to cast your thoughts abroad and remember instances when each of those has created a less than Godly environment. I am very competitive by nature but I really don’t like being around people whose competitiveness takes the fun out of life. You know what I am talking about. That does not foster a sense of love and peace.

And of course you may know someone who loves to provoke people. I knew one of those. He especially liked to say provocative and hateful things to women. I always thought he must be a bit of a coward to try to pick on and harass people who were not likely to make him pay for his comments in any meaningful way. Had he tried that with men, eventually he would have encountered one who was not feeling particularly righteous that day and would have decked him.

What about the irritants? Are there people who are just a thorn in the flesh of those around them? They are like a burr under the saddle, aren’t they? You just want to get rid of them.

All three of these are symptoms of brokenness. Emotionally healthy people do not have to resort to any of the characteristics described in today passage. We can certainly pray for these folks and you know they need prayer. Sometimes, you may need to gently confront them. Their damage should not become your burden but you may need to let them know where your boundaries lie and what is appropriate and what is not. God did not call you to fix them, he didn’t even call you to hang out with them, which is my third thought. You might consider significantly limiting your association with them. If you are following peace, as we know we should, then you are not going to find it in their presence. These behaviors are every bit as sinful as adultery. Importantly, God has not called you into that environment. Hear this – He has called us out of it.

God is the healer. If we are the ones who are conceited, arrogant, envious, self-absorbed, irritating, competitive, and provoke others into anger or other ungodly thoughts and words, then we must turn to God and receive healing. Only a broken, damaged person does these things, but we serve a mighty God who will deliver us.
You were destined to live in peace and harmony. You are meant to live in loving and caring environments and you deserve that. It is part of what Jesus died to give you so demand it for yourself. Except nothing less!!!

God is . . . not a braggart

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag.

Boy, you ought to see the synonyms for this one. Here are some of the ones my computer thesaurus retrieved for braggart: boaster, showoff, bigmouth, loudmouth, windbag and egotist. Interesting, huh? I am especially intrigued by “egotist.” That really is the central problem underlying all of the synonyms. This has a relationship, also, with yesterday’s Word from the Lord. Love is not self-centered therefore, not jealous nor boastful.

How distasteful, really, is a braggart? Is it amplified when we think of love bragging? True love has no reason to brag or boast of itself, or Himself. The love of God is absolute. In fact, it is the most powerful force on earth or beyond. If there was a way for physicists to measure it we would see this truth. God is secure in who He is and in our relationship with Him. He knows that we sometimes reject Him but it does not alter His truth. We can take Father’s example in this. Though a person reject us, we are still safe, secure and loved by our Father. We don’t even have to brag on this unsurpassed love of the Father. It shows. When you have accepted that the heavenly Abba loves you, your face begins to beam with that assurance. You and the Father have an unbreakable link which goes so deeply, even into your cells and tissues, that there is no need for anyone to brag. The joy is in just being in that great a love. Love doesn’t have to brag.

Healthy Appetites

Philippians 3:19     (God’s Word)

In the end they will be destroyed. Their own emotions are their god, and they take pride in the shameful things they do. Their minds are set on worldly things.

Many Bible versions read that instead of their emotions, their appetites are their god. It really ends up being the same thing though doesn’t it? In other words, the god that we really serve is our desires. We lust after different things. For some of us it is stuff. This is quite common. People just always want more things, bigger things and better things. They buy all the new gadgets. Let us make a clear distinction. Having stuff is not the problem. Having our minds set on stuff instead of God is the issue. And we find it easy to fool ourselves at times. We say our hearts are set on God when in reality we spend more time thinking of the “things” we want than we do thinking of the Kingdom of God. 

Other people lust after success or fame. Their heart is set on being a god in themselves. They want notoriety. Other people set their passion on their jobs or hobbies. No matter what we set our attention on, if it is not God then it is an idol. Ultimately this misplaced devotion leads to destruction. Our minds are supposed to be set on the things above rather than the things of this world. Even if you work for God full time, if your ministry occupies more space in your mind and heart then it will end in destruction. There is only room for one god in our lives.

The part of this verse that really struck me is how we brag in our shamefulness. Perhaps we are so deceived that we do not realize that we are lifting up false gods with our voices. We brag about being busy which is a false idol. We brag about what we own and our station in life and God says that this is all taking glory in shameful things. We are proud of the things we should be ashamed about. I am really trying to perceive this from God’s perspective. How do we sound to Him?

God wants to bless each of us with all the material things and well as all of the non-material desires of our hearts. He wants to give us favor with all people. When our hearts are fixed on Him rather than whatever we may lust after, then He gets to be our Father and provider. We keep our eyes fixed on Him with great expectation of what He will do but we are not to run after those things in our own strength. We are to pursue Him with our strength and leave the rest to Him. He is our source and our minds are to be set on Him rather than on earthly things. Whatever is on your mind the most is what you worship. Make sure it is God.