Summary: 3 things from James that help us avoid boasting: 1) Wisdom 2) humility 3) Right ambition

Boasting Jas 3:13-18, 4:13 KAC CU 18/11/02

The dominant theme of these passages is, really, BOASTING

- Jas, no doubt, found it necessary to address as they were just like us!

o A) Human: competition is part of the human nature, fabric of life

§ Not necc bad. But is corrupted by our ‘fallen nature’ to become something wrong

o B) Christian! Because we have our own pride/boasting system and hierarchy

§ = true! An unspoken one

Different hierarchies depending on which part of Christian sub-culture you belong to

- in some: you’re greater if you can quote bits of the Bible

o “Johnny: what’s got brown eyes, a bushy tail…”

o “1 Tim 5:22!!” as was pushed in the door! (“lay hands on no man hastily!”

o Funny, really, as for ALL of us the prob is not knowing it… the theory… rather LIVING it

§ Know more, quote more, just condemn self more

- In other sub-cultures: it’s to do with LIFESTYLE… but wrong kind.

o You’re greater if you can deny yourself more. Ascetic

§ Look miserable and bedraggled. Have no fun

Col 2:23 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence

- in other sub-cultures: it’s lifestyle, but again, wrong kind

o how ‘risqué’ you can be as a Xian. Push the boundaries

- OR, in others: be the one people go to with probs..

o “let me show you how much she trusted me…”

We’re ALL party to this. We are human. So- no condemnation- just a recognition that it’s something to work at… grow in

- IS important. Basis of sin in the Bible is pride/boasting

o Satan- his fall. Making himself bigger than he is

o Adam- his fall. Ditto

But maybe these passages may help us tackle this thing of boasting/pride in 3 areas

1. Wisdom

Who is wise among you? Do you know that kind of wise person?

- I mean REALLY wise!

They’re not talking all the time. Wisdom isn’t always IMMEDIATELY evident

- but deep wisdom and security in God

o no need to impress. Only trying to please God

Wisdom isn’t proven by many words

- “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and confirm all doubt”

- but by a quiet life… good life… silent deeds done in humility

Where does this come from?

- not by trying to impress man. Set out to ‘BE’ wise, and you’ve lost it

- > by FEARING THE LORD, which is the beginning of wisdom

“I only have to answer to you, God. And impress you. You see EVERYTHING, so no point in pretending. All for an audience of one”

- and knowing this, feeling secure in this will help you, in time and turn, react wisely rather than to impress’

This is what God’s wisdom is like

JAS 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

2. Humility

Humility comes from wisdom

Now- I think we are in danger of being into FALSE humility in our churches

- ’Once I was asked to speak to a group and before I spoke, a talented, young lady sang. I turned to her and quietly said "You have a lovely voice". It shocked her. She wrapped her arms around her torso and bent all the way forward, saying in a hysterical voice "Don’t praise me. Give God the glory!"

I wanted to shake her out of this false humility, so I said "He didn’t do the singing; you did." Then I said, "I didn’t say it was divine. I said it was lovely."

Fred Smith in Leadership Magazine Winter ’98

I reckon I used to be like this a bit. Basically concerned that if I listened to what they said I may get Kepahalus Maximus, and loose my faith

- crazy, really! Out of insecurity and faulty understanding of God

"Humility is accepting your strength with gratitude" (Fred quoting his son)

"Humility is not denying the power that you have but admitting that the power comes through you, not from you."

Fred Smith in Leadership Magazine Winter ’98

The key is not to be falsely humble… or even to pray for humility

- because that might be answered by suffering

rather –

“humble yourself”

- that’s how the Bible puts it

o humble yourself before God

See yourself as you are

- a breath of mist

- What a man is on his knees before God: that a man is, and no more. Robert Murray McCheyne

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