since many boast according to the flesh, i too will boast. for you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! for you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. to my shame, i must say, we were too weak for that! but whatever anyone else dares to boast of—i am speaking as a fool—i also dare to boast of that [2 corinthians 11:18-21]
as has been mentioned, paul is using the device of sarcasm to make a point here: the point? we, in ourselves, have nothing to boast about!
thus says the Lord: “let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that i am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. for in these things i delight, declares the Lord.” [jeremiah 9:23-24]
we boast in God’s presence about God-he draws us to himself and wants us to know him! how do we know him? through the person and work of his son, Jesus Christ!
thomas said to him, “lord, we do not know where you are going. how can we know the way?” jesus said to him, “i am the way, and the truth, and the life. no one comes to the father except through me. if you had known me, you would have known my father also. from now on you do know him and have seen him.” [john 14:5-7]
he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. [hebrews 1:3-4]
we cannot know God without knowing his Son–we experience God and his glory when we come face-to-face with Christ. we cannot boast in anything but the cross.
but far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and i to the world. [galations 6:14]
these are ideas that are expressed in some of my favorite hymns. take some time today to experience worship in the presence of God in the form of music–these hymns are a good place to start.
i will not boast in anything,
no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
but i will boast in Jesus Christ,
his death and resurrection.
why should i gain from his reward?
i cannot give an answer;
but this i know with all my heart –
his wounds have paid my ransom.
[how deep the Father’s love for us/stuart townend]
nothing in my hand i bring,
simply to the cross i cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, i to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or i die.
[rock of ages/augustus toplady]
when i survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain i count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
forbid it, Lord, that i should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God!
all the vain things that charm me most,
i sacrifice them to his blood.
see from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down!
did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?
were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
[when i survey the wondrous cross/isaac watts]