September 29: The Battle for the Mind: Boasting

2 Corinthians 10:17. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

This whole letter is full of so much hurt and sadness. Paul has been on the defensive throughout, and now, in more recent chapters he is taking on the offensive. What is he defending? His apostleship. His authority. There are those in Corinth that are trying to turn the church against him. They are calling him weak. They even asked for letters of recommendation before they would let him come back to Corinth (a church he started by the way). These guys were just flat out arrogant boasters. And their arguments of pride needed to be torn down and destroyed.

What do you do when someone attacks you? Criticizes you? Turns the tables on you? Questions your authority? Has this ever happened to you?

Our tendency is to start boasting about ourselves isn’t it? And along with this to compare ourselves to others, especially those leveling the accusations. We begin to see the accuser as the standard. If I judge myself next to my accuser, I can win every time (at least in my own mind).

But Paul doesn’t do this here. Instead, he judges himself and makes his boast in Christ alone. He says, “I’m not living up to your standard, I’m living up to Christ’s.” “I’m not boasting in what I have done to make you feel like less, I’m boasting in what Christ has done, why don’t you get on board.”

Christ sent him to Corinth.

Christ made him a minister of the New Covenant and an ambassador for reconciliation.

Christ called him to suffer, his suffering is not God’s punishment.

Christ allowed the Corinthians to accept Paul’s “severe letter” and confront the wrongdoers in their church.

Christ is allowing him to wage war against the false gospel of his opponents.

Paul could boast in Paul. And you could boast in you. But let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

And boasting in the Lord is going to look much different than any other kind of boasting. In the Kingdom of Christ less is more, death is life, weakness is strength, losing is winning. Why? Because we boast in the cross. We boast in grace. This is why Paul has not been afraid throughout this letter to reveal his utter weakness and even despair (and he’s not done yet, chapter 12 will be the climax).

So what about us? Are we able to reveal our hardships? Our despair? Our struggles? Are we able to “anti-boast” in order to boast in Christ and his grace? Are we able to see everything done for Christ as done by the grace of Christ?

“To live is Christ” is to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, that is, to faith in the grace of Christ. This includes even our boastful thoughts. We aren’t told to stop boasting (everyone boasts). We are told to give our boasting over to Christ and his cross. Let our boasting be about him alone. His grace. His mercy. His justice and righteousness.

How does your union with Christ allow you to answer the questions above?

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