I’m proud of the many accomplishments I have had in my life. I am proud of being a Marine Corps Officer, of having been top salesman for 2 years in a row, for being in the top 10% of (almost) every thing I do, of having made my second marriage the one that lasts, of having written and (self) published a book, and for being asked to teach and be a Council member in every place of worship I have attended.
Actually, I’ve only worshiped at two places in the last 20 years, but I am still batting 1,000 on that score.
So, am I bragging? I am not- I am saying all this to make a point: I am proud of these accomplishments, but I never announce them as being of my own doing or that these are talents I have created. I have been able to accomplish these things, and will accomplish more, only because these are talents that God has given me.
The difference between proud and prideful is that being proud is feeling good about what you have done while giving the credit to God for the talents you have, and being prideful is feeling good about what you have done and taking all the credit for it. The former glorifies God, the latter glorifies yourself.
Taking credit for what someone else has done is nothing to be proud of. Like it or not, God has given you a job to do for Him, and whether or not you believe in Him or worship Him is inconsequential. God has a plan for every one of us, a role to play in His production called “Salvation”, and if we refuse to play that part, well….there is always the understudy. But in any case, you have the talents you need for that role given to you by God. How you use them is up to you.
If you are good at anything, it is because God gave you that talent, and that talent is best used in His name, for His purposes, and to glorify Him. When I give a message on Shabbat, and I am told that it has touched someone’s heart, or testified to them, or just made sense, I know that it is because God has led me to give that message through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and so I have to say (even when my sinful pride wants to take credit), “If I do something good, it’s because of the Holy Spirit leading me; when I really screw up, then I can take full credit.”
And yes, my sinful pride wants to say, “Thank you- I really worked hard on that message.” but I can’t. In my natural being I want to take all the credit, but the truth (which I now know) is that my ability to create and deliver that message in a positive and effective manner comes from God. The message comes from God (if not, I shouldn’t deliver it) and the humor, drama, and effective public speaking skills I have honed are, at their root, from God.
It really is true- the only thing I can take credit for is screwing up.
Humility takes strength of character, and bragging is what the weak of spirit and insecure do. They tell others how great they are to help convince themselves, and even when they have accomplished a lot, by refusing to acknowledge the real source of their skills, they are just being prideful.
I am not going to quote the numerous verses in the bible that tell us the problems with being prideful because I think everyone knows enough of them to get the point. I just want to end with the best way to receive blessings from God is to share what He has given you, and the best way to receive honor is to become the least of all, and the best way to prove how wonderful you are is to let other’s tell about it. When a person relates their accomplishments, it is always taken with a grain of salt, but when someone else relates how wonderfully you do something, or what a nice person you are, or says anything complimentary about you, it is taken as Gospel.
So, then, let others tell about how wonderful you are, while you know you are really nothing much, you’re just God’s tool that is being used as He designed you to be used.
Now that would be something to brag about.
PS: If you like what you read here, and you believe that I am speaking a word that glorifies God, then please buy my book. I wrote it to give everyone the opportunity to know what God says about how to live, outside of the religious diatribe, so that when they make a decision they are at least basing it on good information.
PPS: And, if I may ask, please forward this to everyone you know, even non-Believers, because we all started off not believing and someone, somewhere led us to the Lord. If you are grateful for that, then pass it forward.