If this introduction is starting to sound a bit drastic or over-emotional, don't fret. This is just my New Year's self reaffirming what I value, what I care for and which hills I will decide to make a stand on. You might be familiar with the hill I will focus on. It's that hill far away where there stood an old rugged cross.
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. ~Galatians 6:14If reading that verse doesn't make you pause for an argument with yourself, perhaps you need to read it again. That, or wake up to the hypocrisy within yourself. I have to believe that somewhere before putting those words to papyrus, Paul had to have had an inner dialogue. Upon reading that verse most recently, mine sounded a bit like this.
Me: Yep, no boasting about myself. That sounds good.
My inner self: Whoa, whoa whoa. What are you doing?
Me: I'm applying God's Word.
My inner self: I thought we said we were going to discuss this kind of stuff before you went and did that again?!?
Me: I say it's about Jesus. Not boasting about myself seems like a pretty good way to go about making it about Jesus.
My inner self: Is that why you continue to tell your wife whenever you rock at basketball?
Me: Well, she probably won't hear about it on ESPN.
My inner self: No, she won't. But who cares? Basketball is not even your job.
Me: Yes, but unfortunately for my church, I don't do anything better than I play basketball.
My inner self: I've seen you play. You're not that good.
Me: Good point. Then I guess I don't have anything to boast about.
In case you didn't notice, my inner self can be pretty mean. But somewhere down inside of my heart, sometimes deep down, I know the truth. Behind all my life goals and my career objectives and even my selfish desires and day-to-day wants, it's all for naught.
Because of that cross.
Let's be honest. My decision to follow Jesus meant I would do a lot of things that seemed backwards to the world. It was only a matter of time before I realized my insignificance in the world, but following Jesus sped up that process. And because I give every decision over to the will of God, I see the emptiness in what the world has to offer.
So if my life goals don't match up with what God has willed for me, then guess which desire has to go. Though it may be difficult to give up certain dreams, knowing the right answer isn't hard.
Paul may have been fairly certain of his words when he wrote them down. Maybe this was something he had preached over and over again. Maybe the Galatians would recognize this line and smile, as if hearing it in Paul's voice.
But for me, this is a prayer. As for me, God, may I never boast about anything except what you have done through Jesus on that cross. Kill my selfish desires so they don't come back.
Take that, world.