Boast about Things of God but Keep Rest to Yourself

Article excerpt

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Robert L. Maddox Jr. at Briggs Memorial Baptist Church in the Bethesda.

What do you boast about? Money? Position? Ancestry? Education? Grandchildren? Actually, you can boast about grandchildren all you choose, to whomever you choose. We typically boast about objects of our affection, and my grandchildren hold a priority place in my affection.

It's important to think about our boasting, either what we say out loud or what crosses our mind in private moments. My grandmother always told me bragging was tacky, poor manners. My father said, "Don't toot your own horn." And he would add slyly, "Get someone else to do it for you."

In his great letter to the Romans, Paul talks about boasting. It's a tricky scriptural journey. As part of Romans 2, he says do not boast. In lines from Romans 5, he says boast. In Chapter 2, he says do not boast about your relationships with God, or about your knowledge of the Bible. Certainly we can let other people know of our valued relationship with God, but in a way that focuses on God.

Further, be careful about boasting of your Bible knowledge. From what I know of most modern-day believers, we do not have too many folks who are overly impressed with their knowledge of the Bible. Thus, on the negative side, in Romans 2, Paul is saying do not boast about your own stuff.

On the positive side, in Romans 5, Paul says boast about the love God has invested in us through his son, Jesus, especially the death of Jesus. Therein lies the love and life to boast about. The Scripture points us toward some worthy items to boast of in the loving relationship God offers through Jesus.

Boast about peace that is rooted in faith. It is peace that says the many aspects of our lives are working more or less in harmony. We can be at peace even in the midst of strife, confusion, upset, pain. We can boast about this peace because it is not our doing but the work of God in us. Our part is to open to the work and love of God.

Paul says we can boast of our suffering. He is not saying go around talking about your latest operation or your rheumatism. He is talking about suffering for God's causes. …