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Vanity Blocker

What do we have to boast of, anyway?


...vanity and proud self-esteem are the destroyer of good things.

  - Columbanus, Rule for Monks (Irish, 7th century)

But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us...

  - 2 Corinthians 10.13

How can we know when we are boasting "beyond limits"? Whenever you're boasting about anything other than the Lord, you're at least beginning to stray out of bounds: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord" (v. 17).

I find it embarrassing to be in the presence of a fellow believer who talks about himself all the time - what he's read, what the Lord is showing him, what new project he has undertaken, whatever.

I think I see that tendency too much present in myself, which is why I feel embarrassed at such times and just want to move on or move away.

What do we have to boast of, anyway? That our sins put the sinless One on the cross? That we daily take for granted the ceaseless steadfast love of the Lord? That we can't seem to find more than a few minutes for prayer each day? That we are slothful in the Word? Delinquent in our witness? Unstewardlike in our use of time and treasure? Impure in heart and mind?

Whatever in or through us is worthy of praise is none of our doing. It is Christ at work within us, willing and doing of His good pleasure (Phil. 2.12, 13). We must make sure that He gets the praise for whatever word or deed on our part touches someone with the grace of truth of God.

Boasting in the Lord is a vanity blocker. By turning our thoughts and words to the Lord, we keep from puffing ourselves up and we encourage others to see the Lord at work in them as well.

But if we boast too much, too often, that is, in the presence of others, that very boasting meant to block vanity can become an expression of it.

Perhaps a word of advice from elsewhere in Columbanus' Rule will help: "the nurture of righteousness is silence and peace." Boast in the Lord full brimming with joy and celebration in the silence of your heart. But temper your boasting in the Lord before the brethren, using it only as a means to edify and give peace to the brethren.

Let us boast in the Lord, and encourage others to do so as well. But let us make certain that our boasting does not stray beyond the limits.

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

ReVision - Are artists liars? Was Jesus?

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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