“All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols…” (Psa. 97:7)
I was at my son’s jiu-jitsu tournament, in which he took home 2nd place for his kids division! Thank God for protecting him and helping him to perform well! There are a lot of people who look at jiu-jitsu as their life… it defines who they are, what they do, and what gives them value. Some of the people that won medals yesterday were taking pictures with their medals as if they had just won the Olympics!
I’m definitely not trying to minimize the hard work, effort, and countless hours that these competitors put on the mat in order to achieve their goals. Believe me, I know how much hard work goes into our accomplishments, whether at home, work, education, athletics, arts or elsewhere. But sometimes our goals and victories can become idols.
How do you identify yourself to others? When you have the opportunity to introduce who you are or what you do with other people, what do you say? When someone asks you what your objectives in life are, how do you answer those questions? When we post on social media, what is the focus of our posts and how are we representing ourselves and what’s important to us, to others?
Do we only talk about what we do at work or in our activities, what level or positions we’ve reached, what we’ve achieved, how much we make or what type of neighborhood we live in, or about the accomplishments of our family, spouse, and children? Do we identify ourselves exclusively in those ways, or do we primarily identify ourselves as children of God?
Of course not every conversation is meant to be filled with us talking about our spiritual beliefs or positions, and we must use wisdom and discernment from the Spirit as to when to introduce these things into a conversation or stream of communication. It may not be the first time with someone, or it may not even be in the 3rd time; but we must intentionally seek opportunities to share our faith. If we’re solely defining our identity to others based on our earthly position and status, and repeatedly avert opportunities to share our identity in Christ, then we may need to reassess who or what we worship. Pray about it, because only God can convict you of that.
My point is, we all have reasons to boast, and we’ve all been created to worship. But in response to this verse, are we boasting in idols, or are we proudly boasting of what Christ completed at the cross? Are we worshipping the images and idols in our life, or are we worshipping God and centering every aspect of our lives around Him?
I don’t think it’s wrong at all to be joyful of the things that God blesses us to accomplish— especially with our children or loved ones, as part of loving others is sharing how proud we are of them for doing well! I’m definitely proud of my son for what he accomplished at the tournament, and I’m not ashamed to tell anyone that he’s a natural at his sport and he does well in competition!
But my prayer for my son, daughter, wife, and myself, is that even though we have things in this world that we may be naturally gifted at or that God enables us to accomplish or achieve, that we don’t share only about those things, but more importantly we boast about what JESUS has done and what HE is accomplishing in our lives and through those things. Now THAT’S something to boast about!
“Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'” (1 Cor. 1:31)
[From November 4, 2018]