for our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. for we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and i hope you will fully understand – just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you. [2 corinthians 1:12–14]
how often do you find yourself boasting about something? maybe an even better question is, how often do you find yourself not only boasting, but telling everyone that you are boasting? seems pretty prideful and arrogant in most situations, doesn’t it?
“i just want all the other parents to know that my kid is better than all of your kids at little league baseball.”
“i felt like everyone would want to hear that i got a 30 on my a.c.t. back in high school.”
“i know you didn’t ask, but i wanted to tell you that every time i see someone begging for money on a street corner i give them at least $20.”
“why yes, i did buy zoom stock before everyone else did and now it’s worth millions!”
so how is it that paul boasts to the corinthians but does so without pride? he even goes so far as to say he hopes the corinthians will boast about him and he boasts about them. what is going on here? i would love to point out two things that are true about paul’s boast that will help us understand and draw closer to the Lord.
first, paul’s boast is in the Lord. he clearly says he behaved according to the grace of God not earthly wisdom. he’s not doing his own work. he’s not doing it on his own power. he is boasting in the Lord not himself.
second, paul has a clear conscience. he can have confidence in this boast because he knows his own motives. if our conscience is burdened with guilt from sin then how do we confidently know if we are taking actions to pursue the Lord’s will, or acting out of selfish desires?
to the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. [titus 1:15]
the conscience is a gift which allows us to recognize morality, guilt, and our motives. when it is clouded and defiled with sin we have no way to hold confidence before the Lord in our motives. and the only way for our conscience to be clear is to remove the guilt of our sin through the blood of Jesus.
so today i would encourage you to sit in the presence of the Lord and ask him to bring to mind the things in which you boast. then examine those things – are you boasting in the Lord, or are you boasting in yourself or something else? if the answer is the later then this is an opportunity for repentance. ask the Lord to remove your pride. then with a clear conscience you are free to walk in the calling of the Lord on your life, boasting in him and his work!
~ keith kozlowski