Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Love is... not boastful or proud

1 Cor. 13:4 “it does not boast, it is not proud”

Dear friends, I hope you’ve been enjoying this journey through 1 Corinthians as much as me. The Apostle Paul was intentional in the way he pieced together this letter to the church of Corinth. Imagine reading this letter for the first time, close to two thousands years ago, wow! These words were meant for the church patrons of Corinth, but they still speak so greatly to Christians today as well.
We live in a world of distorted images. Movies, television, and books tell us that love revolves around beauty, money and success. Paul’s “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13 stands in strong opposition to this. Instead of being consumed with the things of the world, this type of love is self-sacrificial. As we have discovered already, this love is patient, kind, and doesn’t envy. In addition, this love does not boast and is not proud.
I have to admit that I am not completely guilt free in this department. I enjoy success as much as the next girl. I have been known to boast about my own accomplishments, instead of focusing on the needs of those around me. However, God calls us to be humble. I love these verses from Philippians 2:1-4:
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if
any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

It is when I start looking to my “own interests” that I get in trouble. At times I get so preoccupied with my own accomplishments that I forget to consider the needs of others around me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to recognize the things you and I have accomplished in Christ Jesus, this just shouldn’t get in the way of loving others. Paul reminds us to “consider others better than [our]selves.” This is one of the best ways to love. What does this look like? For me, this involves listening to my husband a little more, investing in friendships, and truly trying to serve those around me. What would this type of love look like in your life?

Lord Jesus, thank you for the way you unconditionally love me. Help me to consider the needs of others before myself today and every day, amen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Love is... not envious

1 Cor. 13:4 “It does not envy”

Newly married, my outlook on life has drastically changed. One look around my apartment and I can easily find myself wishing I had something better. The mismatched furniture and ancient kitchen appliances fall short of my desires for an up-to-date, trendy household. Not that there’s anything wrong with our second hand things, but they’re not new. When I was a college student the used furniture was fine, but now that I’m married, it’s not. It’s easy for me to get into the pattern of comparing my lot in life to my friends and family. Before long, I start wishing that I had what they have. This cycle of envy is never ending. If I’m not careful I could constantly pick out the shortcomings in my own life and compare myself to my friends. This is not a peaceful way of life. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Envy rots… it’s an ugly thing. My encouragement for you today is to not get stuck in this cycle of envy. Instead, thank God for the blessings he has placed in your life, big and small.

Lord, please help me to not focus on the things I don’t have, but instead focus on all that you have given me. Today I will chose to give thanks, for you are good and your love endures forever (paraphrased, Psalm 107:1).