Don’t Brag Be Humble
You have heard it all before: “We’re number 1.” “I am the greatest.” “We’re the best ever.” While these sayings are sometimes expressed in a fairly innocent manner, Christians need to be careful about developing the arrogant attitudes that sometimes are expressed with such language.
Since the beginning of time, Satan has been trying to get humans to believe they are unbeatable. Do you remember when he convinced Eve that she would live forever even if she disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5)? Satan wants us to sin against God by developing a prideful spirit instead of a humble one. In fact, he wants to see people becoming so puffed up that they begin thinking of themselves better than those around them, and perhaps even better than God.
King Herod’s prideful spirit (read Acts 12:20-24) stands in direct contrast to the reaction of Paul and Barnabas when people at Lystra attempted to worship them (read Acts 14:8-18). Had they had the same arrogant spirit as Herod, these two preachers would have accepted worship, and felt as if they deserved such honor. But instead, these Christian men “tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you.’”
Paul did an amazing thing in Lystra. By the power of God, he healed a man who had been crippled his whole life. Paul did something on that occasion that neither you, nor anyone else living today, has done. It was more impressive than winning a spelling contest at school, or getting first place in some kind of sporting event. It was more extraordinary than being a billionaire. Without any kind of medicine or modern medical technology, Paul healed a crippled man who never had walked a day in his life. If there ever was a time to brag about one’s good deeds and accomplishments, it would have been at that moment. Instead, Paul tried to turn the people’s attention to God and away from himself.
By their examples, Paul and Barnabas have taught us how to handle praise from men. Rather than becoming arrogant and puffed up when we do something impressive, we need to remember always to give God the glory (2 Peter 3:18). Instead of taunting others and acting like we are better than everyone else, we need to remember Paul’s admonition: “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).