Boasting is a tricky thing. It is easy to think we don’t boast because we are down on ourselves. We lament how things don’t go our way, how difficult our life has been or even how God could never love or forgive us.
The other side is that we think so much of ourselves. We puff up our talents, gifts, experiences, our behavior and how great we think we are. We have been told over and over that we can do anything. We get trophies simply for showing up.
Both of these views of ourselves get placed on God and have enormous effects on our relationship with God.
The first keeps us from experiencing God’s goodness in difficult times. We keep God at a distance because of our brokenness, never experiencing God as Father, never experiencing His grace or feeling His love. We are so afraid of betrayal, so afraid of God being “like we thought He’d be like” that we don’t trust the Bible. We don’t trust the promises of God. We don’t trust that God always does what is good, right and perfect.
The second keeps us from experiencing God’s joy and peace because we are always doing, always performing, always running, always making sure things are perfect, making sure we keep up with the Joneses in our lives.
Both miss grace.
Both miss joy.
Both miss peace.
Both miss God.
What we see in Romans 4 is that grace is extended. We are made right with God, not by doing something for God, not by being obedient to God, not even by believing in God (the book of James tells us that even the demons believe in God), but we are made right with God and experience His grace when we believe God.