All As Loss
When we boast, let's boast of Christ. That boast is, perhaps, the only one of so many that are "right" and "good," and not as pride leading to a fall. Not an easy thing for us here in the West, where the presumption of personal and/or corporate exceptionalism is part and parcel of our existence. I, as I also presume of you the reader, are ctitizens in the best country, went to the best school, live/work in the best community, participate in the best institutions and subscribe to the best organizations and resources...at least that is what our leaders are tasked with promulgating. What was once presumed for us here in "America," that we are "number one" has become an epithet to others in the world. It has to often been an excuse for us to bully and/or harass other cultures, both without and within this country. Being the best, that is a chimera that too often leads to us pushing others down while we attempt to assert that we are above them in station, skill or merit.
When, though, we boast of Christ, something else other than our own personal or corporate exceptionalism is being expressed. Greatness is found, by Paul's example, in acknowledging our import while discounting it in service to the only One who is legitmately "the greatest." That one is Christ.
All else can be counted as loss.
That is not to say that the traits in us that are exceptional are worthless. Rather, it is that we only find an exceptional life when those things are consecrated as an offering in service to God, and for us as Christians to a radical submission to Jesus the Christ. In that particular humility we are lifted up...but it does require of us a particular humility. All that is good in us is, ultimately, nor for us. It is through Christ a gift from us to a world yearning for good news. It's not about asserting exceptionalism. It is about accepting Christ's exceptional love for us by the grace of God who creates, redeems and sustains us beyond any bond, skill, or earthly heritage.