In the previous post on this topic, we explored the words of Paul in Galatians 6:14 about his only boast being in the cross of Christ. Paul, in his words to the Galatian disciples, is echoing an idea that comes from a passage in the Old Testament, one that is quoted several times in the Bible. At various points, prophets, Paul, and Jesus all use this passage as the basis for their teaching. This prominence indicates that this passage is important to us in our thinking every day.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.”
The Hebrew term for “boast” as it is used here implies finding one’s glory in a thing, celebrating oneself or one’s accomplishment. Jeremiah makes it clear that we are to have only one boast in this life, the depth of our intimacy with our God and our understanding of His mind and His ways. Our only boast in life is to know our God intimately and to understand Him deeply.
We were created to be fixated upon our God and to live life fully preoccupied with Him. To the extent that we try to amalgamate our living with the things of this world and the experiences of this life, we adulterate and dilute the quality of life our God has for us. The things we think represent our freedom enslave us.
Our God intends to set us free from that which would enslave us. He intends to free us from lesser things to pursue the deepest experiences possible in human living. He intends to take our living to a higher and richer level than anything this world has to offer us. That higher level is the pursuit of our God Himself. It is to know Him intimately and understand Him deeply. This pursuit is our created purpose, it is that for which we are “wired” spiritually. We can never find anything that satisfies us at our deepest level apart from this intimacy.
This life of full devotion to our God is not limiting our living, rather it is de-limiting. It is truly the only path to freedom. The lie told to us is that we will miss the good life if we become fixated on our God. The truth is the opposite: we will miss the fullness of our God-life if we become invested in our earthly existence. In asking for our total focus, our God is offering to us the very best.
Hear the invitation given through Isaiah the prophet: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.”
Our fallen nature has produced a separation in us that gnaws at us like a deep hunger and thirst. All that the world offers us, all that our hearts in their fallen state get sidetracked into pursuing can never satisfy the gnawing, can never be the bread and drink that can satisfy our souls
This is what Jeremiah is telling us in the passage above. Everything we desire to satisfy the deepest longing of our souls is found in knowing our God and growing deep in our intimacy with Him, our understanding of Him. This is what Paul was speaking to in the Galatians passage in the previous post on this topic. Paul wanted nothing to be a source of meaning or accomplishment to himself save the fact that he was joined to the crucified Christ. Everything Paul wanted in life was found in being a new creation.
I have found this to be true in my own life. The more I have surrendered to Him and become centered upon Him, the more fullness and joy I have found. This is my one pursuit, to know my God intimately, to love Him with all my energies, and to understand Him as fully as I can in this life.
This is the purpose of the atonement, to make this deep intimacy, love, and knowing possible for all of us. That such living is possible is certain due to our joining to our God in union. If we have committed our living to our God, we are now placed into Christ Himself and He is in us by His Spirit within us. We are united with the Godhead as the Godhead is united within itself, according to the words of Jesus in John 17. All of this is so that we can fulfill the words of Jeremiah: that we might know our God intimately and understand Him deeply.
In this is our only boast.