“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres .8 Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
Oh the braggart. You must have met him. He’s the one who never fails to take an opportunity to point to his achievements, possessions and abilities. He speaks only in terms of ‘I’, ‘me’,’ mys elf’, and ‘my ‘and scarcely (if ever) does he acknowledge God’s grace and mercies. In his heart he thinks “without me they can do nothing” and in his actions he says “It’s all about me, so listen closely and bow at my feet”.
As if his actions are not troubling enough, his boastful words also have the uncanny ability of being contagious. Whenever the braggart spews out his choice words of self-praise and glory, his listener is at risk of making a few boasts himself- if only in a bid to keep from feeling less important.
What the braggart does not know is that it is foolish to boast of his achievements, abilities and or possessions. Why? Because, there is nothing that we have which we have not received from God (1 Corint 4:7). Not life, not wealth, not health, not abilities, not salvation, not ‘nothing!’ Not only that, but to boast for any reason other than the God-given privilege to know and understand God (Jere 9:23-24), is to pit one’s self as God’s enemy (Psalm 3:3). Only a foolish person does that. Only a foolish person chooses to become the enemy of the one who has the power to totally destroy him (Matt 10:28).
The agape love of God, is not only patient, kind and free of envy, it also does not boast. Since love is unselfish, it does not give into the temptation to think or speak more highly of itself than it ought to. The agape love of God that characterizes the lifestyle of God’s children expresses itself in a humble attitude that never fails to acknowledge God. It is a heart that says “To God be all the glory” and actions that say “I am who I am, how I am and where I am only by God’s grace and mercy”.
So the next time you meet that braggart, whether as a visitor wandering past your heart or a person standing next to you, say these words:
Love does not boast. Love does not boast. Love cannot boast. I would not boast.
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