Monday, August 10, 2009

Love is not Proud!

1 Corinthians 13:4e

What is love not? It is not arrogant or condescending! When God tells us that love is not proud, He means we are not to have inflated ideas about our significance. Being vainglorious is having a conceited mindset—the quintessential thing that God hates the most—so we must not be that way—period! Being in Christ means we must be willing to be in relationships with all kinds of people, especially those outside our perceived likeness of background and/or race. We must not let our fears hold us back from one of life's most precious gifts: friendship. Not being proud means that when we make a mistake, we can own up to it, and we can admit that we are wrong. We can go to our spouse with open hands and seek forgiveness. Pride will create contempt, arguments, misunderstandings, resentment, loss of community, and indifference. Because God loves us, He is on our side, and wants us to grow and mature in His love. We do not have to have an inflated ego about our perceived importance of ourselves. We need to seek others first and their well being, not our arrogance and egocentric mentality. Love lifts up God, not us.

Authentic Love does not puff up the giver or parade itself!

Real love is not prideful. Rather, it is humble and it points to the one we love. To Christians, it points to our Lord. Can we really love? Yes, because we are not alone in this journey. We have no need to be boastful because we have Christ Himself as example and lead. His being fully God was not boastful, so how can and why should we be? We are not only called to spiritual growth—that is, the formation of the investment of faith Christ gives us—but we are also to give back to Him in dividends. This is a deep conviction of our faith, a practiced submission that shows our obedience and a life of personal, spiritual, and relational maturity. We have to listen to God. If not, we will not learn and then we will not grow and then we will not have a life of transformation and growth. Instead, we will have a storm-tossed sea of life, wayward in every perspective because our eyes and ears are not upon our Lord.

The attitude of pride shows up when we consider ourselves superior to another person. It spills over to viewing others as inferior and thus leads us to treat people with contempt. God hates this because as Christians, we are all His children and when we are being proud we are treating other “children” as if they are not good enough for our positive connection or personal interaction. Other biblical synonyms for pride are arrogance, insolence, boasting, stiff-necked, and haughty. Love tempers our passions and realigns our focus. When we allow pride to be in charge, we leave God outside of our hearts and minds (James 4: 7-10).

Questions to Ponder

How do you feel and respond when someone is arrogant or condescending toward you? How would you define pride?

Why is it that what love is not is as critical and significant as what love is?

How do you know the difference whether someone is being prideful or being confident? How should a Christian show respect and confidence to another person?

What can the church leadership and pastors do to curtail our pride that leads to bitterness and hostility flowing from us?

How does pride get in the way of our practicing love or leading a wholeheartedly mature Christian life? What do you need to do about it?

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