Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Paul likens our boasting to the leavening of bread that causes it to rise. Leavened bread is created by yeast that is worked through the entire batch. The rising causes the bread to look more substantive than it really is. Leavened bread represents false appearances, such as when Christians boast about themselves to impress others rather than humbling themselves before God. In contrast, unleavened bread is flat, easier to eat, and just as filling. Unleavened bread represents humility and authenticity. Paul uses the illustration of unleavened bread to implore the Corinthians to stop boasting about themselves. Boasting hinders our walk with God and blinds us to our true condition. Churches that boast about themselves can easily dull their consciences and allow evil to grow unchecked. The Corinthians boasted in themselves while allowing evil to reside in their ranks. Paul called upon them to repent.
God is seeking those who will humble themselves before Him and serve Him without seeking their own glory. Too often, we think more about what other people think of us than seeking the affirmation that comes from God. But we are wasting our time and energy. The world needs the church to be different. The world needs churches that are more like families than entertainment centers. The world needs churches that proclaim the truth rather than watering down the gospel. And the church needs authentic leaders, not leaders who will use the church to pursue celebrity status. The church needs pastors who will serve as undershepherds to his people, not pastors who will try to become rich and famous by writing the next best-selling book. To sum up, the renewal of the church begins when we stop boasting about ourselves and humble ourselves before Christ.
Lord Jesus, teach us to walk humbly with you. Keep us from seeking the affirmation of others when your affirmation is all we need. Let all boasting perish so that you alone are glorified.