Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from June 13-19 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves at Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny, who recently gave birth to their first baby Tyler.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
There’s something about people who like to talk about themselves: what they have accomplished, bragging about all of their awards and accolades—and no one likes boastful people. I would guess that even boastful people don’t like other boastful people. So I doubt very few of us would admit to be boastful, because we’re not like those loudmouth, boastful people.
Perhaps it is this picture of boasting in our minds which takes away from the extremity of what Paul says in this passage. When Paul talks about “boasting,” he’s not talking so much about bragging, but taking pride in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. It is not taking pride in our education, careers or titles. It certainly is not taking glory in the praises and approval of man, though we often try to find our worth in our social status, relationships, or our net worth. Now, even as believers, we often boast even in our knowledge of the Scriptures, how often we fast, pray, give and serve. We can recognize this type of boasting when it makes us feel superior, accomplished, or put on a pedestal. It is anything that we can look at or we want others to look and see glory. Paul would have none of that.
Paul says he desires to not boast, find glory, pride, or worth in anything else in this world, except that of the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul is declaring that the only thing in his life that he wants to find worth in is of a picture of Jesus beaten and bloodied, hanging and dying to a cheap piece of wood. Nothing else in this world gives him any meaning, purpose, or worth, except that of Jesus being shamefully executed on a tree. In Philippians 3:8, Paul says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
Even as followers of Christ, we still tend to stray and boast in ourselves or our own accomplishments. If we are not careful, we can grow complacent and comfortable in this area. The exhortation for us in Galatians is that we live with extremity, and let the world and our boasting be crucified to us—not just for the sake of suffering but for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ and finding our glory and worth in Him. On this Lord’s Day, let us boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for considering us worthy to die on the cross. Forgive me for wanting man’s approval and boasting about myself. Help me to boast in nothing else but what you have done on the cross. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 80