Building Up Love – Boast
Boast – to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself.
…[love] does not boast… (1 Corinthians 4:13d, NIV)
“Oh, that’s nothing! You should have seen what I did!”
“It sounds like you had a nice trip. Did I tell you about the all-inclusive, five-star resort to which I am taking my family?”
“That team would be nothing without me! I’m the best on it!”
“I am the one that holds this office together! They couldn’t function without me!”
Are you a braggart? Are you prideful?
This month, we are again looking at something love is not. Love does not boast. We all like to receive credit for the work we do and the effort to which we put into something. We all get annoyed at the person who tries to take credit for something we did in order to make themselves look good. No one likes the person who continually tries to one up everyone they talk to, the person who tries to make themselves seem the most important.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14, NIV)
The Pharisee was boastful. He spoke with pride about himself and what he did. He assumed knowledge of others and believed himself better than them. The Pharisee listed off all of his accomplishments, crediting them to himself, giving no recognition and acknowledgment to the One who made it possible. The tax collector, a position that was despised by most, recognized he had many shortcomings. He recognized that he did not deserve the love, the mercy of God.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11, NIV)
Jesus gave several parables and lessons about the importance of being humble, the opposite of being boastful. (Matthew 5:3, 18:4, 23:10-12, Mark 12:38-40, Luke 14:11, John 7:14-16) If we are boastful, we are demonstrating only love for ourself. If we are constantly trying to show ourselves as better than everyone, like the person who sat at the head of table without being invited, we are not demonstrating love. Love builds others up, it does not tear them down or diminish their work and experiences (1 Corinthians 8:1b, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 10:24-25).
Jesus is the ultimate example of humility, of not boasting (John 13:1-15). He was and is God! (John 1:1) He had and has an unimaginable number of angels at His command. While on earth, He could have easily demonstrated His power as God! He could have never suffered for sins He did not commit. Any trial or tribulation He faced, He could have easily removed Himself from it (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus is the ultimate example of love. He came to this earth, as a human, out of love for us, love for me, love for you. Jesus did not boast about being the Son of God because He loved us so much that He wants us to spend eternity with Him. He knew what needed to happen in order for us to spend eternity with Him. He had to live an unboastful life.
Do you live an unboastful life? We all like to receive credit for the work we do. It is not wrong to acknowledge when we do a good job or be pleased when we achieve something we have been working hard towards. But we must be careful how we speak and act, for it can quickly turn to boastfulness. We must always acknowledge and be thankful for the help we have received, whether from others or from the Lord. Think of Jesus. He healed many people, yet did not seek recognition. He performed many miraculous deeds, yet did not seek glory for His actions. He knew His reward lay not on this earth, but in heaven, with His Father (John 14:1-4). Our gifts and talents come from the Lord, and it is with Him that we will received full rewards for the work we have done (Matthew 5:12).
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast…
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