Resolved: To Love... Humbly
“Love does not… boast; it is not arrogant”
~1 Corinthians 13:4b
Have you ever tried to tell a story, only to realize that you were talking to a “one upper”? A “one upper” is someone who always seems has a bigger and better story than the one you are telling. No matter what you say, they have been there and done that, but to a greater extent. You just want to share an experience or a story, but they don’t want to hear it. They are eager to share every detail of their “more interesting” experience. Everyone has experienced someone like this so let's take our working knowledge of these people and take a little quiz.
How would you finish this statement? Having a conversation with a one upper makes me want to…
a. Put my fingers in my ears and sing, “LA LA LA LA, I Cant Hear You, LA
b. Walk away, annoyed that they always act this way.
c. Make up a ridiculous story of my own just to see what they will say next
d. Point out the obvious exaggerations, make them look foolish and start an argument
e. Listen intently and ask them to tell other stories of their greatness
If you chose answer “a” - It might be time to rethink your strategy
If you chose answer “b” - No one can blame you, one uppers are tiresome and annoying
If you chose answer “c” - I want to be there to watch, this should be funny. It may not be kind, but it should definitely be funny.
If you chose answer “d” - You are about to throw away 25 minutes that you will never get back
If you chose answer “e” - You are a crazy person or a liar.
Love and Pride Don't Get Along
Here is the point; no one enjoys being around someone who brags. As we continue in our study of 1 Corinthians 13 we learn that love and bragging do not go together. In verse four we read that love does not boast and it is not arrogant. It is interesting that Paul doesn’t simply say that love doesn’t brag, but that he expands his statement to include arrogance. These two descriptions go well together. Boasting or bragging is the outward manifestation of a heart that is arrogant or proud. A person who is proud will usually brag and a person who brags is usually very proud.
In this study we have been learning that love is the way to have a greater impact for Christ. If we think about our opening example, it becomes clear why bragging and pride are incompatible with love. A bragger cannot focus on loving others because they are more concerned with their self. Our quiz results probably reveal that bragging and pride will leave you with an annoyed crowd and even worse… a God whom you have dishonored.
Hunting Down Pride
Arrogance and pride can take on many different looks. While the example of the “one upper” is a little extreme, arrogance and pride can manifest themselves in everyday life. True love can never fully exist in your life as long as pride dwells in your heart. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you examine your heart:
- Do you think that your way is always the best?
- Do you have trouble seeking forgiveness?
- Do you have difficulty listening to others because you are too busy thinking about what you are going to say next?
- Do you have trouble taking advice from others?
- Do you struggle to be compassionate?
- Do you pick apart the decisions and choices of other people?
- Do you feel the need to share your opinion in every conversation?
- Do you feel as if your situation is always the toughest?
- Do you exaggerate the truth when telling stories or talking about yourself?
- Do you have trouble accepting help?
- Do you struggle admitting your faults and sharing your weaknesses with others?
- Do you avoid showing others who you really are?
- Do you try to hide the aspects of your life that are not “cleaned up”?
- Do you snub certain people because they don’t meet your self-made standards?
- Do you point out the weaknesses of others?
- Do you become so wrapped up in your own world that you struggle to remember what others have told you about themselves?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you likely struggle with pride in your life. Realistically, we all struggle with pride in some form or fashion. It’s important to notice that pride is not limited to outspoken people. Many quiet and reserved people also struggle with pride. It may look different, but it is still pride. This truth should propel us to get to work at killing this (in the words of C.S. Lewis) “anti-God state of mind.”
Paul's Questions for the Proud
In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul helps us examine our proud hearts. He writes, “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Paul asks 3 basic questions in this verse:
- What makes you different or better than anyone else?
- What do you have that you did not receive from God?
- If everything you have is from God, why do you continue to brag and be filled with pride?
Paul wants us to constantly remind ourselves that God is the giver of all good gifts. All of our boasting should be in Him (Gal 6:14 – “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”). This mindset should breed humility. When Paul tells us that love does not boast and is not arrogant he is telling us that love is humble.
Put on Humility
As we consider how we can have an impact on others it is easy to see that we will need humility. Otherwise our opinion of ourselves may get in the way of serving others. A humble love means…
- Making time for everyone regardless of our differences
- Having an interest in the lives of others
- Looking to give credit rather than looking to receive it
- Being willing to admit when you are wrong
- Admitting your faults
- Allowing others to see that you are imperfect
- Using your conversations to build up other people
- Being open to the opinions of others
- Accepting the help and counsel of others
- Listening carefully to other people when they talk
- Being empathetic to the struggles of others
- Being willing to simply listen without sharing your opinion
- Working hard to remember what is going on in the lives of others
- Being thankful for the gifts God has given us
If we are going to have an impact on others it is imperative that we have a proper view of ourselves. We live in a society that tells us that we need more self-esteem. Paul tells us that we need to have more “God-Esteem.” We need to be less impressed with ourselves and more impressed with the work of God. We ought to be more interested in others before ourselves. This mindset will put us in a great position, a position where we can have a big impact on others for the cause of Christ.
Resolved: To Love… Humbly
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