"Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God." Gal. 6:12-16
Paul makes the most staggering statement here. May I never boast in anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus! Why would Paul's only boast be in the most brutal execution of all time? If Christ were executed through an electric chair would we say I boast in nothing but His electric Chair? Why can Paul boast solely in this cross?
The context of this verse is Jews who want to boast in their national identity through circumcision. We all are looking to define our identity or our success by something. To the Jews of Paul's day it was the self righteousness of thinking their were God's chosen through the flesh. In our modern context we seek self worth through job success, financial gain, helping others, being a good athlete, being a good father or husband....etc. Our culture defines itself through how many likes we get on facebook and how many followers we get on instagram. This is the same basic core issue that the Jews had. We want to make a name for ourselves in the eyes of men. We are all corrupt with the desire that we want the sense that we are better than the other guy or gal for this, that or whatever.
Paul looks higher. He gazes into the heart of WHY Christ was crucified. The driving heartbeat of Paul's boasting in the cross was that he comprehended that Christ saw him fit to die for. Just step back and listen to what that screams to us. Christ saw us fit to die for. No matter how man sees us, some will think we are great and many will not like us but Christ saw us fit to die for. This re-defines everything. I no longer associate myself mostly as a good this or that; my identity is no longer mostly attached to a position or tile (or anything else that gives us self worth). There is a radical re-orientation for the redeemed. There is a complete upheaval of identity and the definition of success to the point that Paul says I am crucified to the way the world thinks and the world is crucified to me.
Now we can and should be like Paul.... Our one boast that far exceeds every other thing we could possibly feel good about is that Christ saw us fit to die for! He saw us worthy to shed His perfect blood?!? How much is His blood worth? How much are you worth? Well, in God's eyes He was willing to pay the unfathomable ransom price of His blood to buy us back?!?! He saw us desirable to be His eternal Bride... His eternal companion. His desire drove Him to the cross... His desire for us.
So now let us let the cross define our existence. Let us let the cross be the central supreme event that gives us self worth, self value, and the only thing we boast about! We love to tell people about our hidden strengths our hidden talents and events where we were the hero. We love to remember those times when we did "well". We love the feeling we get by remembering when we hit the home run in 8th grade, or when we ministered to those poor children on that ministry trip, or when we helped that person in need, or when we made the speech and everyone applauded, or when we wrote the proposal that helped get the company back on track. These are all fine and dandy and having nostalgic memories is a normal part of life. But if these our our portion fueling our self value we will end up in a spiral of disillusionment when we don't seem to succeed.
But what if our chief meditation; our daydream; our daily delight was relishing in the reality that we (the undeserving) were saw fit to die for by the LORD of Glory. If this really does define us then no matter how good we do, or how bad we do; no matter what men think of us; no matter how the world or the church would seek to define us we could always close our eyes stare at the Cross of our Lord and feel loved and treasured and delighted in by the ALMIGHTY. Now this is something to boast about... My God delights in me!!! And when we forget we must look back at those nailed pierced hands which eternally shouts that Christ Loved us that much.... How much?? Look at Him bleeding, pierced, bruised, whipped, torn, nailed to a tree ..... that much. Hanging on the cross bearing your wrath He looks up to the Father and screams IT IS FINISHED - I HAVE REDEEMED THEN AND I CAN NOW HAVE THEM!!!!