#597 (10/5/22) LOVE DOES NOT BOAST
‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Boasting (Perpereuomai) is to be a ‘windbag’, to lift ourselves up, show off and draw attention to ourselves. This is not uncommon, is it! Boasting is done through our words, our appearance and our status symbols etc. As Christians, we can do it through our wordy prayers, our big bibles, drawing attention to the sacrificial way that we serve…
Boasting is related to 'Envy' that we looked at yesterday; when we envy others, we are tempted to become boastful in order to raise our own status.
Yesterday, we saw how Joseph was favoured by his father. He was given an ornate robe and this caused his brothers to hate him and to become jealous. Boasting is like making our own coat of many colours so as to draw attention to ourselves and our great worth.
The Corinthians were a community where boasting needed to be corrected. We read of their use of gifts:
‘If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’ (1 Corinthians 13:3)
All the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be co-opted to make ourselves look superior. Jesus warns us of the way that prideful boasting devalues what we do:
WE CAN BE BE GENEROUS BOASTFULLY
‘Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.’ (Matthew 6:1-2)
WE CAN PRAY BOASTFULLY
‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6:5-6)
WE CAN FAST BOASTFULLY
‘When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.’ (Matthew 6:16)
Do you see that all of our apparent spiritual service is rendered worthless if it is motivated by self-promotion? Let us be warned. With the advent of social media, the platforms and temptations to promote ourselves have never been stronger. The boastful, unfortunately, are the most liable to compromise on biblical issues which will diminish their popularity. We cannot boast in ourselves and, at the same time, boast in Christ and His teachings!
RESPONSE - PRACTICE TO PURSUE HUMILITY AND KILL BOASTING
How can we kill boasting? What is its opposite? I think that the opposite of boasting is to boast in Christ and to praise other people for the good you see in them. In a word, gratitude is the antidote to boasting.
Yesterday we looked at the practice of reflecting on the cross each morning in order to kill pride; this is boasting in Christ. Added to this, the practice of praise and gratitude to God and others is very powerful. C. J. Mahaney writes of the practice of gratitude:
‘The second daily item is this: Begin your day expressing gratefulness to God. “Thankfulness,” Michael Ramsey reminds us, “is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.”7 That’s exactly right and we want to cultivate that soil. So from the outset of the day, I want to greet my Saviour with gratitude, not grumbling. (Humility P.54)
Exercise: Take a moment to thank God for whatever good you are experiencing in your life. Have you received answered prayer? Has He taught you something? Then move on to thanking God for people through whom He is blessing you. How could you express your gratitude to these servants of God?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at the next three aspects of love.
Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
last week we looked at how love is patient and kind. This means that, like God, we endure in our relationships (patience) whilst also showing, sometimes, undeserved kindness (kindness or mercy). This week, we are considering the next three facets: love avoids envy, boasting and pride.
i. LOVE DOES NOT ENVY - Envy (Zéloó) is to be jealous of others. Rivalrous and eager to possess what others have. Envy does not truly believe in the love of God. Deep down, the envious believe that God has overlooked them and favours others more highly. God’s love breaks envy because God’s love assures us that we are perfectly loved and are gifted according to His will.
ii. LOVE DOES NOT BOAST - Boating (Perpereuomai) is to be a windbag. It's to boast, lift ourselves up, show off and draw attention to ourselves. Again, this comes from a failure to understand the gospel of God's grace toward us.
iii. LOVE IS NOT PROUD - Pride (Phusioó) Is to puff or blow up, flaunting for personal benefit, trying to make ourselves look bigger. Pride is Believing we are better than others.
All of these aspects of failure to love, relate to 'Patience and kindness'. Understanding God's patience and kindness toward us free us from envy, boasting and pride.
i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii) This section on love is about the correct use of spiritual gifts; how will avoiding envy, boasting and pride ensure that we use our gifts in a healthy manner?
iii) A practice for killing envy, boasting and pride is to be grateful and encourage others. Spend some time doing an 'I SEE IN YOU...' exercise: take time to tell each member of your group what you see in them: gifts, character, specific service for which you are grateful, prophetic words...
iii) In the blog on Monday (#596) I shared a practice for pursuing humility from C. J. Mahaney's book, Humilty. He encourages us to start the day by:
'REFLECT ON THE WONDER OF THE CROSS For me, the most consistently helpful item on the list is this: Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ. I believe this will be the most important habit and practice for you as well. To truly be serious and deliberate in mortifying pride and cultivating greatness, you must each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died.' (Humility)