Summary: God hates boastfulness. But what so wrong with a little bragging if you’ve got a special talent or ability?
OPEN: An older woman was cruising a busy parking lot in her new Mercedes-Benz looking in vain for a parking space. She finally saw someone loaded with packages heading for a car, so she followed him, put on her blinker and waited patiently until he pulled out.
Just as he pulled out a young man in a sleek black Porsche zipped in to the space ahead of her. She was dumbfounded and outraged, and jumped out of her car, shouting, "How could you do that? Didn’t you see me waiting there with my signal on?"
He smiled an arrogant smile and replied, "That’s what you can do when you’re young and fast."
As the young man was about to enter the store he heard the hideous crunch of metal striking metal. He ran back, horrified, to see that the woman had gunned her Mercedes and smashed it into his beautiful black Porsche. He ran back and cried, "How could you do that?"
She smiled back at him and replied, "That’s what you can do when you’re old and rich!"
APPLY: Let the wise man not boast of his wisdom (says Jeremiah)
nor the strong man of his strength
nor the rich man of his riches
I. Boasting (pause…) God talks a lot about boasting
In Psalms 75:4 God says: "To the arrogant I say, ’Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ’Do not lift up your horns.’"
Proverbs 27:1 warns us: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth."
And in the New Testament, Paul writes that: “(God) chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things— and the things that are not— to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” I Corinthians 1:28-29
God speaks about “boasting” as if it’s a natural temptation for us.
(pause…) But, what is wrong with little boasting? I mean - as some people say - if you’ve got it - flaunt it. What can be wrong with that? I mean, if you’ve got a special ability or talent that sets you apart from the rest… what could be wrong with showing off a little bit?
WELL, there is the small matter of God not being pleased with it. But why? Why would God be so upset with a little “boasting” now and again?
· 1st – God doesn’t like boasting because it tends to reflect spiritually laziness.
Turn with me to James 3:13-17 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Such ’wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
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.”
Now, what’s James saying here?
He’s saying this: If you’re truly wise, you shouldn’t have to TALK about being wise.
“Let him SHOW (his wisdom) by his good life, by deeds DONE in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
Talk - or bragging in this case - is cheap.
God’s saying… if you’re really wise - do something with it.
He could as easily say: if you’re rich - do something with it.
Or, if you’re strong – do something with it
Use your wisdom, or your strength, or your riches for the upbuilding of my Kingdom, or for the benefit of others around you.
ILLUS: Years ago, on the Merv Griffin Show the guest was a body builder. During the interview, Merv asked, “Why do you develop those particular muscles?”
The body builder simply stepped forward and flexed a series of muscles from chest to calf. The audience applauded.
“What do you use all those muscles for?” Merv asked. Again, the muscular specimen flexed, and biceps and triceps sprouted to impressive proportions.
“But what do you use those muscles for?” Merv persisted. The body builder was bewildered. He didn’t have an answer.
His strength was something to be shown off and bragged about… BUT he didn’t use it for God or anything else.
To have strength, or riches or wisdom and to focus on talk about what you have rather than doing something with it… is spiritual laziness. And God doesn’t appreciate that. God doesn’t like it.
· 2nd – When we brag… it reflects a sinful lack of humility.
In James 4:6 we’re told "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
ILLUS: My dad was something of a prankster. He always loved a good practical joke. Once he walked into a church board meeting, smiled broadly and said: “I’m the most humble man here.” And he sat down.