Boasting in Jesus

March 30, 2013

The whole world is talking about Jesus this weekend, so I figured I would too.

For those who don’t believe in God: I’d encourage you to take some time over the next few days to consider Jesus. Take this opportunity to think deeply about who he is and who he said he was. Answering this question is the most important thing you’ll do your whole life.

For the Christian: stop and sit for a moment, and think about who you were before you met Jesus.  Where were you living?  What were you doing with your life?  What did you believe about life and God?  What motivated you?  How did you spend your time?  Who were your friends?

For me it’s a scary thought. I grew up in Montana with a pretty messy life that was far from God. I lived for the approval of others and for pleasure. I was my own god. I probably would’ve called myself a Christian, but my life would’ve said otherwise.

When I moved to Seattle, I started attending church with my older sister and her family. I came for all the wrong reasons: to feel morally upright, to meet a girl, and frankly because I didn’t have any friends yet and didn’t know what else to do.

Slowly but surely, everything changed. We were going through the book of Romans at church, and I began to see my sin and God’s grace very clearly. I was faced with the reality of my desperation without Jesus.

Who are you without Jesus? Or who were you without Jesus?

Paul planted a very interesting church in the city of Corinth. Throughout the years he wrote several letters in response to questions and concerns from this new and often confused church. In his first letter he begins in Chapter 1 by warning them against growing prideful by soberly reminding them of who they were apart from Jesus:

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

We are not very impressive.

Paul systematically dismantles any sense of identity from ourselves. We are not wise, not powerful, not from noble birth. We are foolish, weak, low and despised.

We are the “things that are not.”

Without Jesus, we’re nothing, just like the Corinthians.

At this point, we tend to get defensive. We may even feel insulted. “Hey, I am different, powerful, smart, employed, wealthy, and athletic! I have a great family, a decent house, I go to church, and I read my Bible and pray every day!” Whatever your resume says about you, there remains a problem.

The problem is who we are comparing ourselves to.

If we say we’re good, we mean that we are better than other people. We mean we’re not as lazy, as selfish, as foolish, or as cruel as the next guy.

We should compare ourselves to Jesus. Next to him, we’re nothing. He is perfect. We are not. No matter the veneer we pull over our state, we are stuck in our sin.

And despite all our efforts, we have nothing to boast about… except Jesus.

Who are you because of Jesus?

Paul continues:

30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

We can boast in Jesus. We get to. Always him. Only him. There is no other gift or person or accomplishment or status worth bragging about, because his grace is the only force that makes a difference between one human and the next.

We lose everything when we boast in ourselves, but gain everything when we boast in Jesus.

5 things we’re given through Jesus:

  1. Life – Our lives are hidden in Jesus, and only by him and through him is true life found.
  2. Wisdom – We have Jesus, who is the wisdom of God and who lavishes wisdom upon those who ask for it.
  3. Righteousness – We are given Jesus’ perfect righteousness, meaning our worth is all about his work on our behalf.
  4. Sanctification – We are daily being made more and more like Jesus as we grow in grace and maturity.
  5. Redemption – We are bought at a price. Ransomed from our debt of sin through faith in his life, death and resurrection.

Use this opportunity to take inventory what you’ve been given and boast about it… in him.

Thank you Jesus for giving me grace upon grace and a life I don’t deserve.