1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not arrogant.
In my last post I wrote about envy and jealousy. Boasting and arrogance are the flip side of envy.
Jealousy is all about wanting what the other person has.
Whereas boasting and arrogance seeks to make the other person want what we have.
Neither have a place in the Christian’s heart. And neither are what love is.
When I read through the chapters preceding chapter 13 in Corinthians, I saw a church filled with behaviors which, shall we say – needed a bit of tweaking…
The Christians in Corinth were boasting about many things, and causing great division in the church. They were critical of Paul, they boasted of their tolerance for immorality witin the church, they were busy suing each other in court, and so on. Paul had to step in and write about what love IS. Something about all of these things sound vaguely familiar in modern day society and church as well… yah?
Arrogance does not show love. It shows just the opposite.
Arrogance and boastfulness place the attention on ourselves. Whereas love places the focus on others.
Another translation of this verse uses the phrase “puffed up spirit” when referring to arrogance or boastfulness. I think that’s a great visual of artificially inflating oneself. When we boast, we inflate our own egos, while ignoring those around us.
Boasting doesn’t have to be confined only to material things either. It can even dwell in the spiritual realm!
There may be times where are tempted to tell others all of the wonderful things God is doing in our lives to place attention on how ‘spiritually in tune’ we are.
Please know that it’s absolutely great to share what God is doing in our lives! It is encouraging! The problem lies in the MOTIVATION behind the sharing.
Is it to glorify Him, or ourselves?
Once again, Satan has a sneaky way of twisting even GOOD things around to his benefit. We must always be on guard and avoid the temptation.
When we love as God loves, we build each other UP. Look at how God builds us up throughout His Word! Every single page of the Bible reveals how God feels about us. His passion and love for us cannot be matched!
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
When we turn our life perspective outward instead of inward, we are free to focus on others’ needs before our own, and offer help or encouragement without thought of repayment or recognition.
THAT is the type of love we are called to.
The apostle Paul was such an example to us! He had reason to boast or be arrogant about his ministry, but he knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was NOT about him. It was all about Jesus. If attention ever turned toward him, he redirected the focus on Jesus! Our goal should be to do the same!
1 Corinthians 9:16 – For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
He knew his mission. He knew his place. He knew His calling. As should we.
Paul’s ministry was all about the grace of Jesus, and our salvation through grace. Even in this, we are not to boast. Why? Because grace and faith are God’s gifts to us, we have done nothing to earn or deserve it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
So what can we boast about? Guess what?! I found one thing we are allowed to boast about!
1 Corinthians 1:31 – Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Boasting in the Lord! What does that mean?
Jeremiah 9:23–24 – Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Boasting in the Lord and lifting Him HIGH is so much better than lifting ourselves up! When we lift Him up He is put in His rightful place. We honor Him by building up those around us.
That – is loving well.
So, before we speak, let us ask ourselves these 2 questions:
“Will what I am about to say draw people closer to Jesus, or further away? Am I glorifying Him, or am I glorifying myself?”