We live in a time when we are caught between competing instincts. On the one hand, the culture around us (sometimes the Christian culture too) urges us to assert ourselves. We need to develop our brand. We need to “put ourselves out there.” We are all marketing ourselves nowadays through social media. We need to think of ourselves as the product that we manage throughout our career. We cannot be passive and expect opportunities to come our way. We live in the age of the celebrity, of reality TV, of Trump.
On the other hand, we – prompted no doubt by Christian virtues, but also by the old fashioned modesties of bygone eras that looked down on people pushing themselves forward – are wary of exactly all these things that the culture around us wants us to do. We should not be self–assertive, we should be meek (that Greek word for meek has more of a sense of “self–control,” or been “trained,” than passivity, but here I mean meek in its normal everyday sense of mild–mannered). We should not be pushy; we should be polite. We should not stick our head over the parapet. We have, if we are Australian, the “tall poppy syndrome” whereby we tend to cut down anyone who appears to want to be better than other people. And the same tendency also exists in other countries too. No one likes a show off.
How do we navigate these competing instincts today? Should we assert ourselves? If we are not meant to assert ourselves, how can we “push” forward God–given values and the gospel we believe in, especially in the context of a secular society where spirituality is not on the front burner for most people if we do not find a way to get their attention? Is our wariness to be “pushy” actually a form of self–deceived cowardice? What’s the line between not being a celebrity, goal hogging, glory hound; and then also not being a person who fears people and doesn’t speak up in case he might get criticized?
On the search for the answer to that question, I wrote this book. I wrote it early in the morning over about a year. I set aside one hour and decided to write a thousand or so words each day. My quest was to see whether Paul’s teaching about “boasting” (which does have a positive side to it, and not just a negative side) was also reflected in the rest of the Scriptures. And if it was, what could we learn from it, and how could we “boast” in a way that glorifies God and builds God’s kingdom.
So my desire, hope and prayer, is that this book would help you:
Bear much fruit for God’s glory