From Max Lucado’s book Traveling Light (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2001):

“Do you feel a need for affirmation? Does your self-esteem need attention? You don’t need to drop names or show off. You need only pause at the base of the cross and be reminded of this: The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you. And that is a fact. So if you need to brag, brag about that.”

Lucado echoes the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:14 where he says “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

To be honest, such boasting is totally and completely unthinkable! How dare I boast that the God who made the stars should love me so very much? That’s akin to saying that Bill Gates is my best friend or that the king of Spain chats with me online every day. Yes, the Bible makes it very very clear that God’s love really is that big, but it’s really not something I can believe easily, especially since human love can’t and won’t and doesn’t fill every need.

It seems audacious to boast of God loving me so much He didn’t want to live without me. So much He would give up His very life for me. It really seems much more humble to boast about my own petty accomplishments. Deep in my heart, I realize they’re petty. In fact, that’s part of why we boast, isn’t it: to raise ourselves off of the dirt floor where the superiority of others has cast us? And so we boast, feeling that others view us as inferior, trying to give ourselves an “ego boost” (sounds like an add-in at a smoothie shop: “I’ll take an immunity boost, an energy boost, and an ego boost in mine, please.”).

Reading Lucado’s words, I realize that I’ve never really understood Paul’s ability to boast in the cross before. What kind of boasting is that? Doesn’t it sound a bit heartless to the rest of the world to tell about something that they don’t have and might never be able to obtain–a love like that? And if they could obtain it, wouldn’t it make my possession of such love less significant? I’ve wondered about how in the world the apostle John could have the presumption to call himself “the disciple Jesus loved”–didn’t that cheapen the relationship the others had with Jesus? Wasn’t that a slap in the face to them and their relationships with Him? And if I were to boast in such love, I would be sure to find out very quickly that someone else has more of His love to boast about.

And so I boast about everything else but the one true possession I have that gives value to my little life, the thing that God has reiterated over and over that no one will ever be able to take from me, the thing that He has promised is mine forever, the one thing that He has given me permission to boast about. Why don’t I boast about it?

I have to believe it first.

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