When we speak of boasting, we are talking about a desire to, as Spurgeon said, parade our accomplishments as a public spectacle for others. Boasting seeks to gain recognition for or draw attention to oneself. It is self-centered and is the outward form of the inner condition of pride (John Piper). Don't be a "me monster."
We live in the land of "vain-glory" as Pilgrim’s Progress put it. From athletics to academics to advertising, everyone is seeking to promote his or her own glory. They feel it necessary to make themselves known, to toot their horn so others can compliment their importance, see their successes and overlook their failures. Each of us has that innate tendency of the flesh to exalt ourselves because each of us struggles with the inner sin of pride, which desires to receive admiration and preeminence.
So then, how do we remedy the problem of boasting?
First, remember who you are.
The world has bent over backwards to brainwash our society about self-esteem. Such a worldly doctrine opposes Christian growth and specifically promotes, rather than deters, boasting.
From Genesis to Revelation, there is nothing in Scripture that testifies to the goodness of humanity. In Romans 3, we read, "There is none who does good, there is not even one." (Rom. 3:12). In reading Jonathan Edwards on humility, he frequently used words like "despicable" and "exceedingly polluted" and "nothingness" and "vileness" to describe humanity.
If any human has a reason to boast, it was Jesus being God in the flesh and we know He made Himself nothing (Phil. 2:6-8). Yet we have nothing and we have the tendency to boast so often.
When we boast, we are giving glory to ourselves that we do not deserve. We are taking credit for gifts that have been given us by God (Pr. 25:14; Isa. 10:15; 1 Cor. 4:7; Jas. 1:17). Even our salvation has been worked in such a way to eliminate boasting. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). Spurgeon said, "Grace puts its hand on the boasting mouth, and shuts it once for all."
Remember who God is
Remembering who we are will eliminate unrighteous boasting. And remembering who God is will promote righteous boasting.
We are wired to boast. And we will always boast over that which we feel is most special. Therefore we need to get ourselves off the pedestal and acknowledge the supreme greatness of God. Then and only then will boast only in the Lord and not in ourselves because we understand how much His greatness surpasses ours.
None of us feel loved when others parade their accomplishments, because boasting reveals a self-focus. Yet when we understand the greatness of God over ourselves we will naturally boast in Him through our words which are evidenced by our actions. Through our obedience, we will show the greatest love for Him and the greatest love for others. As the Psalmist said, "My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice" (Psm. 34:2).
"Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord" (Jer. 9:23-24).