Love Does Not Boast

Love does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud (1 Cor 13:4). Envy comes from selfishness, where we look at others and want what they have. Love causes us to look at others and be glad when they are doing well. We can rejoice with others when we are genuinely interested in their well being. When we care about the welfare of other people, we will not boast that we are doing better than them, but be concerned to meet their needs as well as our own.

Pride, envy, and boasting are a reflection of a self-centered mindset, and such a way of thinking is opposed to our trusting God for what we need. Our Appalachian heritage is independence and pride in our own provision. While it is good to work with our hands to provide for our needs and the needs of our family, we should not go so far as to think that we can make provision for our future just by good planning and hard work. We had best think about what we will have when our ability to take care of our self is ended. Our relationship to God and family will matter most, in the end.

Paul said that if he was going to boast about anything, he would boast about his weakness. When Paul was stoned, he said that happened so that he would learn to trust in the Lord who raises the dead. Paul went on to say about his vision of visiting heaven, 2 Cor 12:7-10—“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” NIV

Boasting about our weakness is positive, because it shows that we are learning to depend on God. If we have any righteousness, it is a gift from God by faith in Jesus Christ. Those who are proud of their own righteousness fall into the same condition as the Pharisees, who boasted of their own righteousness, and failed to believe in Jesus so as to come to him and have salvation. Jesus said about them, John 5:39-40 --"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” NASU

Knowing the Bible without knowing Jesus is a tragic condition, and certainly nothing to boast about. Paul warned about those who use knowledge in such a way as to offend a brother, and said that love is more important than knowledge, 1 Cor 8:1-3 –“Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.” NASU

As Paul instructed the Romans, Rom 15:1-4 –“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” NIV

Therefore, instead of envy, boasting, and pride in our self, we need to boast about our dependence on God, and give praise to the Lord of Heaven and Earth. We can be proud that we love Jesus.

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