Does it seem as if nearly every sports accomplishment these days has to be accompanied by an “In your face” celebration? No matter if one’s team is far behind, the individual often flaunts conspicuously, disdainfully, and boldly his or her personal achievement. The message appears to be, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” We can also see this behavior in many other fields. “Look at my car, house, intellect or good looks, they are so much better than yours.”
This is far from a new development. Satan delighted in tempting Adam and Eve into flaunting the blessing God had given them. After all, they already ruled over the animals and cared for the Garden (Gen 1:26) (Gen 2:20) (Gen 2:15). He may have reasoned that they would be susceptible to his lie about being equal with God (Gen 3:5). Then they could really flaunt it. All throughout history mankind has longed to be applauded, recognized, appreciated and rewarded. This desire is not evil in itself, but if the motivation is to elevate oneself and demean others, it definitely is.
The Holy Spirit speaks through the Apostles of those who were selfish and uncaring to their brethren. Ananias and Sapphira wanted the praise of others but not the sacrifice (Acts 5:1-11). Paul admonishes the Corinthians for their divisions and quarrels (1 Cor 1:10-13) and their humiliation of the poor during the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:17-22). Paul further teaches the sin of false pride in the analogy of the gifts of the Spirit and the parts of the human body (Rom 12:3-8) (1 Cor 12:14-26). James forbids the favoritism of the brethren towards the wealthy and discrimination against the poor (Jas 2:1-6).
Of course Paul, Peter, John and even Jesus displayed their spiritual abilities, but always to edify and never to belittle anyone. We can and should rejoice (Ps 118:24) (Php 4:4) (Lk 10:20) in our salvation, but in such a dignified and humble manner so that it could teach outsiders without flaunting our blessings (Col 4:5) (1 Th 4:12) (1 Tim 3:7).