Summary: This study examines characteristics 4-7 of the fifteeen qualities of love found in I Corinthians 13.
Last week we began a series entitled the “Finer Points Of Love.” We are studying the fifteen characteristics of love that are listed in I Cor. 13:4-7. The first three are: love is patient, love is kind, and love is not jealous. Today we take a brief look at the next four.
Quality number 4: love does not parade itself (or) love does not brag. I like the way the Message translates this phrase, “love does not strut.” Other descriptive phrases would be: love does not crow; love does not show off; love does not blow its own horn. Boasting and bragging can get you into a lot of trouble.
Charles Swindoll in his book “Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back” tells the story of a farmer who wanted to impress his hunting buddies. To impress them, he bought the smartest, most expensive hunting dog he could find. He trained this dog to do things no other dog on earth could do---impossible feats that would surely amaze anyone. Then he invited the neighbors to go duck hunting with him. After a long patient wait in the boat a group of ducks flew over and the hunters were able to make a few hits. Several ducks fell in the water. “Go get ‘em!” shouted the proud owner to his magnificent dog. The dog leaped out of the boat, walked on the water, and picked up a bird and returned to the boat. As soon as he dropped the duck in the boat he trotted off across the water again and grabbed another duck and brought it back to the boat. The owner beamed with pride as his wonderful dog walked across the water and retrieved each of the birds one by one. Unable to resist the opportunity to brag a bit he asked his fellow hunters, “Do you notice anything unusual about my dog?” One of them rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Yes,” he finally said. “Come to think of it, I do! That silly dog doesn’t know how to swim does he?” (Contributed to Sermon Central by Richard Jones) Boasting will get you into trouble.
1. Boasting causes division. Even sports leaders recognize the harmful effects of boasting. Football has instituted a penalty for taunting the other team.
• Boasting causes division in marriage.
• Boasting causes division in church.
• Boasting causes division in sports.
• Boasting causes division at work.
2. Boasting blinds you to danger. The word “Titanic” has almost become a synonym for boasting and pride. Many stories have been told about the sinking of the Titanic. The sinking was a classic example of prideful boasting. It was told that a deck hand on the Titanic once said “God Himself could not sink this ship.” (Illustration 511 in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations. Paul Lee Tan)
3. Boasting closes your ear to spiritual truth. Jesus once told a story about a rich farmer. "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, `What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ ‘But God said to him, `You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’’ (Lk.12:16-21 NKJV) This parable warns of the danger of closing your ear to spiritual truth.
Quality number 5: love is not puffed up. This refers to conceit, arrogance, and pride. The Bible says “Pride goes before a fall.”
1. Pride keeps us from seeing our own faults and addressing them. I read a story about this couple that was having marital problems. They set an appointment to see a marriage counselor. As they talked the marriage counselor tried to get each of them to recognize and admit their individual failures. The wife began by identifying her mistakes. She said she had nagged, been jealous, and critical. When the husband began he said his biggest mistake was marrying his wife. Pride keeps us from seeing our faults and working to correct them. Pride will blind you to the truth about yourself.
2. Pride makes us look foolish.
I read a cute story recently and felt it had to be shared with all of you. It is a story as told by a young lady who also happened to be a Sunday School teacher. It goes like this. I was testing the children in my Sunday school class one morning, to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven. I asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?" "NO!" the children answered. "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, the answer was, "NO!" By now I was starting to smile. Hey, this was fun! "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked them again. Again, they all answered, "NO!" I was just bursting with pride for them. Well, I continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?" A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD."