Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Love Does Not Boast

Leslie Basham: When we boast about our possessions or accomplishments, we’re not showing love. You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 5.

How do you feel when you hear someone boasting about their accomplishments? It turns us off when we see pride and arrogance in others. Well, today we’ll spend some time evaluating ourselves, recognizing ways in which we may be prideful or boastful. Let’s join Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So how’s your love life? We’ve been taking a love test. After the last session, someone said, “I’m failing the love test,” and my response to that is, “Grace is for failures.” So I guess we all qualify.

So how are we supposed to love in the way we’re commanded? We love with His love. We love by faith. We acknowledge to God that we can’t love, and we ask Him to love through us.

Let me read again the paragraph that we’ve been looking at in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 4-7. I hope that you’re memorizing this passage so that you get it into your heart and use it as a test, not only during this series but throughout our lives to say, “Lord, am I growing in the grace of Your love?”

Verse 4 of 1 Corinthians 13,

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. [Love] does not demand its own way. [Love] is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. [It is never glad] about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up. Love never loses faith. It’s always hopeful, and it endures through every circumstance . . . Love will last forever! (verses 4-8, NLT ). 

We want to look today at the next two characteristics. We’ve looked at the first three. Love is patient or long-suffering. Love is kind, and love is not jealous or envious. Now, today we come to two that are kind of twins.

Scripture says that love does not boast, or it does not parade itself. It does not brag and that love is not proud. It is not arrogant. First of all this matter of bragging or boasting. Scripture is saying here that love does not sound its own praises. It doesn’t trumpet its own accomplishments for other to see.

Love doesn’t boast about its own successes. In fact, I think one of the most convicting verses in the Old Testament comes from Proverbs where the Scripture says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth,” (27:2 NKJV).

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered that there are some subtle ways I can boast without appearing to be boasting and use my mouth to even spiritualize things, things that God is doing through my life, things that are happening in the ministry. Only God knows if my heart motive is to boast about my accomplishments.

That’s why Paul says in the New Testament, I will not boast about anything that God has not done through me. He’s the one doing the work. I have nothing to boast of. Anything I have is a gift from God, so how can I boast?

Love does not boast. It does not brag. It does not parade itself. It doesn’t talk conceitedly. This quality is really the other side of the one we talked about last session, the other side of jealousy.

You see, jealousy is wanting what someone else has, and bragging, boasting, is trying to make others jealous of what we have. Jealousy puts others down. Bragging puts ourselves up, puts us up.

The interesting thing I think about this matter of bragging is it’s something I really don’t like to see in other people, but why is it that I’m so slow to see it in me, to see when I’m being boastful or bragging?

The Corinthians to whom this passage was written originally wanted the most glamorous spiritual gifts. They were constantly vying for public attention. They wanted everyone to recognize, “I have this gift. This is how God is speaking through me. This is how God is using me.”

All of that boasting is rooted in pride, exalting ourselves, flaunting our gifts, our abilities, our knowledge, our accomplishments, the desire to appear to be important, to have others think that we’re spiritual or successful or capable or prosperous. Sometimes the boasting takes place in obvious ways, in what we say.

Sometimes it’s even in what we don’t say that a boastful or bragging heart can be revealed. What about when we accept credit for things that we don’t deserve credit for or when we leave a better impression of ourselves with others than is honestly true?

If someone says something about us that’s negative, and we didn’t do it, we’re quick to defend ourselves. But what if somebody says that we did something good, and we’re not the one who did it—we’re not the ones who deserve the credit? Are we as quick to say, “Here’s where the credit really belongs”?

Boasting and bragging come naturally to us, but the Lord Jesus is an example of genuine love. He knew nothing of a bragging, boastful spirit. In fact, Philippians chapter 2 tells us that when Jesus came to this earth, He made Himself of no reputation. He humbled Himself.

He wasn’t trying to lift up His reputation. He was God, but He didn’t regard equality with God as something to be boasted of or held onto. He didn’t cling to His rights as God. He didn’t boast of who He was (see verses 5-11).

In fact, I think of all the times in the Gospels when Jesus could have made a speech about “Don’t you know who I am?” when others didn’t understand Him, didn’t recognize Him, mistreated Him. But He never boasted or bragged about the fact that He was God because He came here to love, and boasting and love are mutually exclusive.

Do you boast about your abilities, your gifts, your accomplishments, what you have? Do you enjoy telling others about your achievements more than listening to the accomplishments of others?

My dad used to tell us as we were growing up, “When you’re in conversation with people, ask them questions about themselves because people don’t like to hear you talk about yourself. They like to talk about themselves.”

I’ve noticed in people that I really respect, people who are highly relational, that’s a characteristic they have. They ask you questions about you. They’re not guilty of always talking about themselves.

Paul goes on to say, not only is love not boastful—it doesn’t brag—but also love is not arrogant. It’s not proud. One translation says it in a way that is really a good translation. Literally, the word is, love is not puffed up. Love doesn’t have an inflated view of itself.

The word has to do with a bellows that you use for fanning the fire in a fireplace. You push those bellows; the air comes out, blows on the fire and makes the fire larger. That’s the picture here of someone who is not a loving person. He is like bellows. He’s boasting. He’s proud. He’s puffed up. He’s self-inflated.

You see, bragging is the verbalizing of pride, but arrogance, this puffed up spirit, is the attitude of a proud heart that is overly impressed with itself. Again, we can all think of people that we know who are arrogant people. They just have a manner about them.

We don’t like to be around those people, do we? We want to keep at a distance from them. When my spirit is arrogant, though I may be the last one to realize that that’s what’s communicating, it causes people to want to keep me at arm’s length, causes them not to want to draw close. People are drawn toward humble people even as God is drawn toward those who are humble but resists or stiff-arms the proud.

So many of us have inflated egos, and that often comes out by the way that we belittle others. We put them down because we’re trying to inflate ourselves. Proverbs tells us that only by pride comes contention.

If there’s contention in your home, if there’s contention in a relationship that you have with your parents or your in-laws or your children or someone in your church or someone in your workplace; always, always, always, the root of that contention is pride, arrogance. We say, “Yah, that other person’s sure arrogant.” It’s not the other person’s arrogance. It’s my arrogance that causes that contention, having to have my way.

That’s how it was in the Corinthian church. They were proud of what they knew, proud of their past teachers, proud of their intellectual knowledge, proud of their spiritual knowledge, and because of that pride, there was contention.

Their business meetings were war zones. They fought with each other. They couldn’t get along with each other, and it’s not just true in the Corinthian church. Sadly, it’s true in so many of our churches, so many of our homes because we’re arrogant. We’re puffed up.

Arrogance builds me up. Love builds you up. It builds others up. John the Baptist was a wonderful example of a humble spirit. He said, “The One who’s coming after me, Christ, the Messiah—I am not worthy to untie His sandals. He must increase, and I must decrease” (see Luke 3:16 & John 3:30).

Is that your heart attitude? You want Jesus to be exalted. You want Him to be increased, and the people that you’re around, you want them to increase. You want them to be lifted up. You work at making others think well of them, or do you have the heart attitude that says, “I must increase. It’s my reputation. I want others to see me, to recognize me”?

Do you have an accurate assessment of your strengths and your weaknesses, or are you arrogant? Do you communicate toward others in your church or worse yet in your home—do you communicate an attitude of spiritual superiority?

Ladies, this is an issue for so many wives. What a great damage this does in marriage relationships! Now, I’m not saying men can’t be arrogant. Sometimes certainly they are. But for a wife to communicate toward her husband an attitude that "I know more than you"—though she might never say those words—“I’m smarter than you. Like Ford, I always have a better idea,” always correcting him and improving on his statement, always improving on his way. Why? Because she’s arrogant. She’s puffed up

You want love in your home? You want your marriage to work? You want God to be glorified in your marriage?

You say, “Yes, it would all happen if my husband would get . . . if he wouldn’t be so arrogant.” Listen, you can’t change your husband, but by God’s grace, you can let God’s love fill your heart and make you a humble woman.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss helping us identify ways in which we may be demonstrating pride in our lives. We’ll get back to 1 Corinthians 13 and the series, How’s Your Love Life?

First, I need to let you know about a way you can demonstrate more love and humility in your home, church, and community. The True Woman Conference will show you how to embrace God’s plan for you as a woman, developing a humble, godly influence on those around you.

The True Woman Conference coming to Chattanooga will be here before you know it, March 25-27. Join Voddie Baucham, James MacDonald, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Kay Arthur, and many other speakers. Join Keith and Kristyn Getty in worship. Join thousands of women who are also seeking to know God’s purpose for them as women.

Get more information at ReviveOurHearts.com. Now, let’s get back to Nancy and the series, How’s Your Love Life?

Nancy: We’re looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 13, and Paul describes love with these words. “Love does not behave rudely,” (NKJV) or as another translation says, “does not act unbecomingly,” (NASB).

I think rudeness is one of the dominant characteristics of the era in which we live. Turn on a television today and watch prime time programming, and you’re likely to get a healthy dose of rudeness.

You see particularly women on television today who are loud, who are boisterous, whose behavior and words are suggestive. Certainly men and women both can be rude, but I think it’s particularly unattractive in us as women.

  • Love has good manners.
  • Love is sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • Love is considerate.

Now, rudeness can come out in different ways. A lack of love can be seen in someone who is excessively shy. You say, “Well, that person’s not rude.” But that person may get into a group and out of fear of man, fear of what others will think, will just stay to herself, doesn’t reach out, doesn’t extend conversation to others. That’s rude.

It may not be it in a crude or obnoxious way, but not to be willing to bridge gaps. I know when I go into a situation where I don’t know people, most of you think of me as a very outgoing person, but I’m actually rather introverted. I get into a crowd of people I don’t know, and it’s hard for me to start conversations and to introduce myself to people or to ask them questions.

Being a good conversationalist, showing interest in others, is a characteristic of love. The person who’s loving and is not rude will be tactful, will be sensitive, will be gracious, considerate, thoughtful and mannerly.

Again—and this has been true of so many of these characteristics we’ve looked at—one of the areas where this is most important is inside the four walls of our own homes. Why do we get so careless about small acts of consideration and thoughtfulness in our own homes? Why is it that in our homes we say things that we would not say outside our homes, things to our mate, our children, things to a roommate, or things to someone that we work closely with in the marketplace? Why do we say things that are sarcastic, things that are cutting, things that are put-down comments?

Those words, Proverbs says, can be like a sword, like a spear that goes in and cuts and wounds the spirit. There are those of us in this room who heard something said when we were a child that was rude. It was inappropriate. It was unkind, and it wounded us. But how many times do we use our own tongues to wound the spirit of a husband, of a son or daughter, thoughtlessly, carelessly saying things to those that we live and work the most closely with that we would not say to guests or visitors or those that we don’t know?

The Scripture says that the people who heard Jesus talk were amazed at His gracious words. Now, Jesus had some sharp words to say, some penetrating words to say, but His speech was gracious.

By the way, moms, this is an important thing to be teaching to your children, and if you don’t teach it to them, probably no one else will. Teach them the importance of appropriate behavior, of good manners. Manners matter. I know they don’t matter to many people in this culture, but they do matter because the essence of good manners is doing what is thoughtful, what is considerate.

Even table manners—if you go back and study how some of this evolved, it has to do with what makes the other person feel at ease, what ministers blessing and grace to the other person. Your children need to be taught respect for authorities, not only respectful behavior, but respectful in the way that they talk about authorities.

By the way, more of that is caught probably than taught. If you are free with your mouth to say comments that put down your pastor or your husband or your boss, don’t be surprised when you hear your children mouthing off about a teacher or another authority.

It’s important to teach your children to communicate. It’s sad to me when I see teenagers who don’t look adults in the eyes and won’t say hello and won’t carry on a conversation. Part of love is not being rude. It’s acting in a way that is gracious.

Years ago I was speaking at a women’s conference, and during the lunch break (I was teaching in the morning and in the afternoon) I went and sat at a lunch table with several other women around the table that I did not know. My mind—and here’s how I justified what happened. I was mentally preparing for the next session. Being in that frame of mind, I was not much of a conversationalist at the table.

At the end of that conference, I received a note from one of the women who was seated at that table who said, "The way that you did not talk to us during that lunch break was so rude that I could not listen to anything else you said in the afternoon." Now, that was really a faithful wound at that point.

That happened years ago, but you know, I’ve never forgotten it. I realize that in every way I’m an ambassador of the God of love. Even in what I think in my behind-the-scenes, obscure moments where no one, I think, is paying attention, people are watching. They’re watching you, and the way that we deal with them is making an impact.

My dad wanted very much for us children in our family . . . He used to tell us, “I want you to be Christian ladies and gentlemen.” It mattered a lot to him that we would be mannerly, that we would be sensitive to the needs of others, and it matters to the Lord. It’s the way of love.

Now, we want to look at one other characteristic of genuine love. That is that love is not self-seeking. “Love does not seek its own” (verse 5).

I suppose if there were a mantra for our culture, it would be, “Have it your way.” Have it your way, and that’s really at the root of our fallen, human nature, isn’t it, a drive to have it my way? We so naturally seek out our own rights, our own interests, our own glory.

The Corinthians had this problem. They wouldn’t share their food at their love feasts. They were protective of their rights to the point of suing fellow believers in pagan law courts. They wanted the best spiritual gifts for themselves. They sought their own way, but we do it, too.

I heard just recently the story of a woman who has left her husband and four young children to move to another coast so that she can further her college education. What is she doing? She has left her husband. She’s left her children, and not just for a short time. The couple has divorced.

Now, in this situation, there’s culpability with the husband also. But here is the woman who’s leaving her children. Why? So she can have it her way, so she can pursue her own interests and goals.

The apostle Paul says to us in Philippians chapter 2, “Don’t just look out for your own interests, but look out for the interests of others,” (verse 4, paraphrase). Paul goes on to say, “I want to send Timothy to visit you because,"

I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus (verses 20-21, NKJV).

Isn’t Jesus exactly the opposite? He left His way, His interests, His glory in heaven so that He could come down to this earth, lay down His life for us. Would He have gone to the cross for us if He were seeking to have it His way? Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. He never sought His own welfare. He always sought the welfare of others.

So how are you on this test? Do you consciously look out for the welfare of others, the interests of others above your own interests, or are you self-protective, protective of your time, your rights, your reputation, your way?

Think about your relationships at work, at home, with a roommate, perhaps. Do you insist that others do thing your way? I find myself so often in meetings having an idea of how things should be done, and I can be like a pit bull to make sure that things end up the way that it seems right to me.

So many times these are not matters of really right and wrong. They’re matters of preference. They’re matters of opinion.

I think of some friends of mine who—the husband, when he would work in the kitchen, he thought you should take out one thing at a time and then put it back before you got something else out to use it. The wife, on the other hand, liked to pull out all the ingredients, all the things to use.

Well, the husband couldn’t stand that because that was very cluttered to him, but to the wife—his way of doing it was inefficient. Now, how did that couple learn to walk together in love? They learned to say, “It doesn’t have to be my way. Your way is okay, too.” Learn to defer. Learn to yield, not to have to have it your own way.

O Father, how we thank You that Jesus was willing to surrender His way, to give up His own rights, His own reputation and to sacrifice His life to serve us so that we could have eternal life. Lord, we confess that naturally we tend to want our own way and also that we’re naturally often rude and act in ways that are unbecoming to children of the King, daughters of the King.

O Lord, in the way that we conduct ourselves as we leave this place, may we be sensitive, tender-hearted, serving, kind, surrendering, loving servants of Yours and servants of others for Your sake. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: I can almost guarantee that today you’ll have a lot of opportunities to defer, to let people have their way like Nancy Leigh DeMoss was just talking about. Nancy’s teaching series, How’s Your Love Life?, is very practical. When you gain a biblical perspective on love, it affects you moment by moment, day by day.

We’d like to send you this timeless teaching on love. You’ll receive the series on CD when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, and we’ll also include a booklet Nancy wrote to help you apply these truths to your situation. The booklet is also called, How’s Your Love Life? It will take you deeper into the Scriptures on love that Nancy’s been teaching through.

Just make a donation of any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for the CD series and booklet when you call 1-800-569-5959. I hope you’ll share authentic love at your church this Sunday. Then join us again Monday. Find out why the Bible tells us love is not provoked. That’s Monday on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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