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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#598 (11/5/22) LOVE IS NOT PROUD

‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Pride (Phusioó) means to puff or blow up; it’s seeking to raise our status above others because we believe that we are better than others. John Stott warns of the dangers of pride:

‘At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.’

Love and pride cannot exist together. If we want to be loving and if we want a loving church, pride must be exposed and repented of.

Pride is self-idolatry; it’s substituting ourselves for God. Pride is self-confidence, and humility is ‘confidence in God’. Pride is defeated by putting ourselves in a right relationship and attitude to God. We could say that Humility is confidence properly placed. C. J. Mahaney defines it as:

‘Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.’ (Humility)

In the Corinthian church, some were prideful of their spiritual gifts. They judged themselves as better than others because of the gifts that they had. Paul humbles them:

‘For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?’ (1 Corinthians 4:7)

We all need to remember that we are no ‘different from anyone else’ in the church; all gifts that we do and do not have are according to God’s will. None of us can boast before God.

Pride always leads to division because it will not be told! When someone seeks to bring correction, they blow up because they are puffed up! When it’s not done their way, they blow up, are sullen or refuse to play on the team. Pride is full so it cannot be told or learn - you cannot fill someone who is already full of themselves!


How can we kill pride in our hearts? How can we grow in humility? Pride is diminished by practices which reinforce our dependence upon God. The spiritual discipline of prayer and worship out of the Bible is key to this. Yes, we can pray for a show, as we saw yesterday. However, personal, secret devotion says something very powerful about us! J. I. Packer writes:

“I believe that prayer is the measure of the man, spiritually, in a way that nothing else is.”

Lloyd- Jones writes:

‘It is when we have left the realm of activities and outward dealings with other people, and are alone with God, that we really know where we stand in a spiritual sense. (Lloyd-Jones)

Do you see that secret devotion in prayer and worship out of the Bible reveals our pride or humility?

C. J. Mahaney writes:

‘The next habit: Practice the spiritual disciplines—prayer, study of God’s Word, worship. Do this consistently each day, preferably at the day’s outset, if possible. If we’re properly motivated, this will be a daily demonstration and declaration of our dependence on God and our need for Him. I’ve found that it’s possible for me to charge into my day motivated by self-sufficiency. But I’ve also learned that the very act of opening my Bible to read and turning my heart and mind to prayer makes a statement that I need God. I find great benefit from this understanding, because like you, I have wildly fluctuating emotional experiences from day to day in my devotions. One morning I’m profoundly aware that God is near to me, while the next day I can sense only His absence. In a matter of hours I go from what seems to be an effortless experience of pure joy to asking, “Where are You? Where did You go?” The fact is, of course, He didn’t go anywhere. Yesterday He allowed me to sense His presence; today He seems to be sending the message, “I want you to grow more in your trust in Me; therefore, I’m withdrawing that sense of My nearness.” I’ve learned that regardless of how I feel when I’m finished reading my Bible in the morning, I can know that I’ve made the statement, “I need You, I’m dependent upon You.” By quietly pausing to study and read and pray before launching my workday, I can be confident that I’ve taken a step to weaken pride and strengthen humility.’ (Humility. P. 55-56)


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


2. Icebreaker

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.

Discussion questions

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)

Do you think this is helpful? How do you or could you do this?

SIV - How can we use our spiritual gifts to reach our community for Jesus?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.

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