Tag Archives: Corinthians

Love is Not Rude

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him. Proverbs 27:14

Rude.

The dictionary is not specific about the words meaning. It uses interesting phrases like ‘without culture, learning, or refinement’, ‘rough, harsh, or ungentle’ and ‘violent or tempestuous, as the waves’. Even the phrase ‘approximate or tentative’ is mentioned as part of the definition (source: http://www.dictionary.com).

I think true love is not without culture, learning or refinement. True love does not storm into the room like a Neanderthal, stomp all around until it has what it needs, and then leaves with ruin and destruction in its wake. True love has a degree of refinement about it. It has a sense of learning and understanding. It is not without beauty. It has many levels on which it can be enjoyed. It is not common, in the old fashioned sense of the word.

Think about the different rude scenarios you may have experienced. Do you know of anyone who is intentionally rude in their behavior? Or perhaps they are rude and just don’t know it. Worse would be if they are rude, know that they are, and just don’t care! The Love Dare addresses this from the perspective of how others view you. Examine your own actions just to make sure that you are not being rude – that would not be loving.

What’s the one thing that seems consistent in all the scenarios? Selfishness. Rudeness always occurs when selfishness reigns. Being rude means I’m not concerned with others.

We can all list of ways many of us can be rude during any moment of our lives. Corrective action would include making doubly sure that sarcasm or condescension (especially in public) is avoided, being careful not to ignore any requests, catching ourselves before we slam any doors, hang up the phone or pick any arguments, and trying to be gracious in speaking. We’ve all experienced it.

This applies to all of us…not just women. Proverbs 26:21 reads as charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. 1 Corinthians specifies that love is not rude. Perhaps, to you, rudeness means continuing to do things that are annoying – or maybe it means something more, depending on that individual. The Love Dare continues “Do you wish your spouse [or person in question] would quit doing things that bother you? Then it’s time to stop doing things that bother them.” (p. 23)

If we are to learn to love others as our self and learn to love like Jesus loved, we need to deal with selfish ambition. We all have it or have had it at some point or another. We need to learn to recognize it, confess it, and ask God for strength through Jesus to eliminate it.

Scriptural encouragement for today:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13

Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:12, 13

If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15:6 ESV

Today’s challenge: Ask that person by email, phone or letter to name three things you do which cause them to be uncomfortable or irritated. Avoid defensiveness. Give no excuses – just ask. Then ask yourself, “What am I going to do with this information to improve in those areas?”

Work cited: Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)

Love is Not Proud

Humility is perfect quietness of heart.
It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.
It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised.
It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

~Andrew Murray

How many relationships would be saved if just one party would apologize? Marriages? Pride is truly the root of so many evils.

Pride is the single most widespread problem we face. None of us are immune to it. Everyone is prideful, even if they don’t want to admit it. Pride can be obvious or subtle, but pride is not God-honoring. Pride does not help us love anyone but our self. Pride got Satan kicked out of heaven. And pride did the same to us (and can).

It’s the way of the world, but it’s not a godly quality that the Lord wants to see in us.

Pride and arrogance are stepping stones to lust, to selfishness, to anger, to contempt. There’s no room for pride in a loving relationship – pride takes up too much space. Really loving someone means being willing to admit faults and shortcomings. Love puts others first, even at the expense of ego or dignity. Pride just doesn’t fit into that scenario.

A pride person makes decisions based on what will make them look the best. They’ll take others down to build themselves up and hurt feelings to keep from admitting wrong. We don’t think we’re being evil when we’re being prideful, it seems right, even good, at the time. You know yourself well enough to know where your pride resides. Capture it, and act in love. Be willing to be wrong and admit it. Be ready to step aside when someone has a better idea. Respect them in love.

Jesus gave the ultimate example in this. He repeatedly said that he came to the Father’s will. Not his will, but God’s will. A prideful person cannot submit to another because it would bruise their ego. We see no filthy pride or ego in Jesus, the Son of God.

Remember the Samaritan woman at the well we discussed the other day? Jesus took time out of his day to connect with her. She held a priority in his heart. He connected with her at her place of need. And once that connection had been established, he revealed who He was. If Jesus were prideful, He would have just come out with His true identity right away. Yet, in His humble manner He creates a relationship, elevates the woman’s worth and value in that society and revealed Himself in a gentle and kind way. (John 4:7-26)

Love dissolves the ego. Love melts down all the selfish underpinnings causing pride to form in us. In love, we come to understand position, power, authority, and things are of no value. In love, we come to understand only Christ is of value. In love, we are not stuck up because we are willing to take a lesser position.

How are you mirroring your Lord’s humility? Do you brag about how great you are? Or do you wait for others to praise you in due time? What motivates you? Are you out for your own benefit? Or do you seek other’s benefit before your own? Do you build relationships to reach others for Christ? Or do you blast them by pointing out all their sins and reciting Bible verses at them?

If we truly seek to become the loving people God calls us to be as His children, we need to deal with the issue of pride. We need to learn to lay down our will for God instead. When God’s power of love comes over a person’s life, all the things of earth, the things we think are so important, pass away. Love does not have time for pride because love is too busy helping others, supporting others, and glorifying God in all we say and do.

Scriptures to encourage you today:

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way , and the forward mouth, do I hate. Proverbs 8:13

If my people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Corinthians 7:14

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way. Psalm 25:9

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Today’s Challenge: Lay down your desires for the benefit of someone else. Help someone else. Suppor them. And glorify God in the process. Add this to the other four challenges.

Love Does Not Boast

The definition of boasting, “to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself” is the kind of boasting that is never a part of love.

Love quiets our heart and mouth. Love humbles us before our God and before others. We are not puffed up when we are within God’s love. In love, we do not see how we are better, or bigger, or stronger, or richer, or taller because we are continually expressing our joy in humility. Love engenders humility in us rejecting the idea of being better than someone else. There is no bragging in love because love is “others” oriented. To boast means we are deficient. With love, there is no deficiency, only an overflowing of heart, mind, and soul. When we boast, we ignore others while love is centered on others rather than upon self.

Is there anything wrong with boasting? Not necessarily.

No one likes a braggart. Excessive boasting is obnoxious and rude. It belittles others and serves self. In short, it’s not love. But we should boast…and we need to be careful about how we go about doing it.

Imagine this.

You’re out with friends. The girls are chatting together while the guys share a word. One of the guys starts going on about what he did for his girlfriend on their anniversary, telling all of the details about how much hard work he put into it. This can play out in one of two ways.

He’s either sharing all of this so that his friends know how wonderful he thinks his girlfriend is, and how deserving she was/is of that treatment, expressing regret that he can’t always treat her with this much attention – or, he’s bragging. In the latter scenario, he’s making himself look good, which makes it seem as though he went so out of his way for such an undeserving wretch as his girlfriend, and she’s so lucky to have a good person like him in her life. How would that make her feel? Is that loving?

Our boasting should be confined to what God is doing in our lives and with the people we have contact with. The purpose is to encourage others and further His Kingdom.

God is loving and kind by nature. Therefore, he cannot keep himself from giving us abundant gifts. He gives us homes and families, healthy bodies, wisdom, skills and talents, and knowledge of the Scriptures. Unfortunately, we cannot keep ourselves from taking credit for these gifts and boasting about them. Without God’s gifts, our lives would be miserable. But even with God’s gifts, our lives end up being miserable because we are still experiencing the effects of original sin. The whole human race is thoroughly infected with original sin. Unbelievers don’t understand the seriousness of it, so they act as if it doesn’t matter.

We see this problem, not only in ourselves, but in others as well. We brag about our material possessions, even though these are rated as the least valuable of God’s abundant gifts. Consequently, the wealthy, regardless of whether they are nobles, merchants, or farmers, consider other people to be mere pests. Even more serious abuses exist with the more important gifts, such as wisdom and justice. The fact that God gives his gifts to everyone results in the following predicament: God cannot tolerate boasting, and we cannot keep from doing it.

This was how the world sinned before the flood. Among Cain’s descendants were some of the finest and most intelligent people in the world. But in God’s eyes they were very evil because they had become they had become filled with pride about the gifts God had given them. Then they despised God, who gave them their gifts in the first place. The world doesn’t understand why this is wrong and therefore doesn’t condemn this behavior. But God condemns it.

Jesus never showed off. His greatness is often revealed in what He suppressed, rather than what He did or said.

Love will never boast about itself or about things it has no influence over. If love boasts, it will only boast about the object of its affections, in a way that makes the love grow stronger, and shows everyone how much it has changed the lives of those it has touched.

Love builds others up, it doesn’t tear them down. Bragging brings others down in an attempt to elevate yourself. True love acts in humility.

Verses to encourage you today:

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth. Proverbs 27:2

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But not to use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 NIV

As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 NLT

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Not a result or works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

Today’s Challenge:  Refrain from commending yourself. Boast about God and others.

Love Does Not Envy

Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire. Song of Songs 8:6

Jealousy is one of those things that can be a bad thing if demonstrated in a non-loving way. The Love Dare reads: There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy. (p. 36) We know that there are many biblical warnings against jealousy based upon envy, but it also refers to God as a jealous God who is love.

We serve a jealous God. Think of the golden calf Israel had Aaron make while Moses was “taking forever” up on that mountain. God was jealous then and He’s jealous of everything we value in our lives before Him.

God’s jealousy is being for His people because He loves us so much and wants for us to keep us first. His Word also speaks a great warning to those who would be jealous of someone who has something that we want. That kind of jealousy can lead to bitterness and anger if not tempered by learning to love others. Perhaps you’ve witnessed a marriage crippled by jealousy – it’s never pretty. It’s time to let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart. It’s time to let your mate’s successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love. (p. 38)

This isn’t just for those of who are married. I’m not and God may have it mapped out that I one day meet the man He’s chosen for me, but then again, maybe not. I’m okay with that. But that doesn’t mean that I can live without applying this to my own life. Or you to yours. We should cheer one another forward; encourage each other to excel at every opportunity. If we do that, we take a step away for selfishness. We take the focus off of ourselves and move towards oneness.

Scripture to encourage you today:

You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous of His relationship with you. Exodus 34:14

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:24-26

Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immortality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Romans 13:13,14

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16

Today’s Challenge: Take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and wrongs and destroy it. Pray that your negativity will disappear and ask God to heal that hurt, replacing it with love. And encourage someone you love today. Add this to everything else you’ve done the last three days.

Work cited: Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)

 

Love Is…

Hello to all my virtual friends!

Now that January is quickly coming to a close, I need to come up with another topic to write on. After much consideration, I opted to write on Love. February, after all, seems to be the month for it.

I’m not an expert, but I do know Someone who is. After all, He wrote the greatest love story ever written (the Bible). I’ll be focusing on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a as well as other pinpoints in scripture on how God teaches us to not only love, but live. Here’s to 14 days of L-O-V-E! Enjoy!