Have you noticed how often Facebook serves as a venue for self-exaltation? I don't mean the simple sharing of one’s excellence; I mean the huzzahs people heap on themselves: “I am great. I am self-made and successful. I am a good, noble, giving person. Better nobody mess with me because I’m the baddest. I am wonderful. I am brilliant. I am strong. I am, I am, I am . . .” Friends, there is only one I Am, and we aren't him. Much of what garners approbation today as “putting yourself out there” is just plain old self-aggrandizement. Often it hides behind some humble-sounding qualifier—e.g., “I’ve made my mistakes, but I always treat my friends right and help people when I can.” So you’re a good egg, and you want us to know that you’re a humble good egg at that. Good that you’re a good egg, but why is it important for you to broadcast it? Understand, I see nothing valuable in belittling and beating ourselves up, minimizing our God-given gifts, or aw-shucksing when people compliment us. That’s not what humility is about. But I also see nothing wholesome or powerful in the massive boasting that has come to characterize our culture today. Used to be, bragging and self-obsession were a turn-off; today we applaud them: “I am the best. Look at meeeee!” “Yeah, brutha, you rock!” (Clap, clap, clap.) In the face of that, the apostle Paul has this to say:
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:26-31 NIV)
Friends, it’s all about grace. We’ve got to keep this in mind. If there’s anything good and glorious in us—and there is, lots and lots, more than we can imagine or may feel comfortable recognizing—it is God’s doing. Jesus is our source of “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). He is our life, our everything. Is there a time for letting people know about the excellence that lies within us? Of course. Humility isn’t about hiding our light under a bushel. Let it shine! Just let’s do so in a way that, whether directly or indirectly, points with gratitude to who Jesus is in us, not who we are in ourselves.