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Letting go of my “boast list”

April 10, 2024

Letting go of my “boast list”

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
 

My faith journey begins as early as I can remember with one of those “born and raised in church” testimonies. My religious “boast list” gets an A+! I was a pastor’s kid who got baptized before turning double-digits. I was the queen of Sunday school who led peers in youth group. I began tithing with my very first paycheck. I even graduated college from a Christian university! This reminds me of the apostle Paul, who documented his long and strong spiritual “boast list” in Philippians 3. Paul had many reasons to place “confidence in the flesh” as one of the most devout Jewish Pharisees of his generation. Yet, even though Paul’s list of spiritual accomplishments far outshines mine, he resolved to NOT boast in any of it. Why? Because the truth of the gospel melted away his works-based pride. Likewise, once I became a young adult, God exposed the works-based, self-centered state of my heart. I had based my faith on the checklist of things I was doing for Him. I quite literally (and sinfully) prided myself in how many books of the Bible I memorized and how many spiritual gifts I operated in. This approach to my relationship with God gave me spiritual whiplash- being either full of pride in all my accomplishments or riddled in guilt in all my shortcomings. Turns out that like Paul, I’m not as “good” as my spiritual “boast list” makes me appear. I had misunderstood the beauty of the gospel- that salvation is based solely on the goodness of God, not the goodness of me. It is God’s grace that produces good works in us, not the other way around. Friend, let this truth dissolve any stock we have in our ability to produce a spiritual “boast list.” It’s been a humbling journey to let go of my “boast list,” but the grace of Jesus is so much better to hold onto. God, help me release any lingering grasp toward works-based religion and cling wholeheartedly to your amazing grace.

Meet our author, Jessica!


Jessica Bearden works as a Licensed Professional Counselor in The Woodlands, Texas. She is passionate about providing a judgment-free, hope-focused environment for her clients. Jessica enjoys theater, traveling, theology, and teaching the Bible! You will catch her drinking coffee every single day to keep up with chasing after her twin girls and toddler boy! She co-hosts Abide Women’s Bible Study retreats in TX to guide women to study Scripture with intentionality and passion. Connect with her on Instagram! @jessica_bearden If interested in counseling services, you can contact her and the True North team at www.truenorthtw.com (must be a Texas resident to receive True North services).





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