This week’s memory verse:
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
This week we’re looking at two things love is not…
Love does not boast, it is not proud.
When it comes to boasting, some versions read: does not brag or does not parade itself. The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon for the original Greek defines it as a self display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one’s self excessively.
Do we really have anything worth boasting about?
Read Ephesians 2:8-10
What is salvation a result of? Why?
What do works have to do with salvation?
Who we are and all we have is a gift from God. We have much to be thankful for, but very little room for boasting except in God.
Just as we have no reason to boast, we have no reason to see ourselves as better than anyone else. All have sinned and fall short. Any of us, given the right set of circumstances, are capable of anything.
Boasting and pride often go hand in hand. The Greek translated as pride in the New International Version of the Bible is translated as arrogant. Other versions use conceited, puffed up.
The original language literally means to inflate, blow up, to cause to swell up (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). All pictures of a prideful attitude.
Arrogant. That’s exactly what God called me. And when He did, it put an end to some very destructive thought patterns.
Before He called me out, I had a terrible practice of playing out conversations in my head. Conversations with others I was upset with or wanted to put in their place. Conversations to justify myself when I offended them. Conversations which rarely took place and if they did… they NEVER went the way I imagined they would.
I used to spend hours in my head having imaginary conversations. A practice which was destructive to relationships, because I would imagine them saying things they never said. My conversations were based on the understanding that I knew their motivation and how they would respond. The result was a puffed up angry spirit ready to have it out. I was prepared with my words, because I knew exactly what they would say.
I don’t remember the exact conversation I was having in my mind when He revealed the arrogance behind this thought pattern, but I can still hear myself gasp with horror at the realization of what I had been doing for so long. How much energy had been wasted. How many emotions stirred, fights picked, and the confusion felt when things didn’t go how I planned. Humbled was what I was.
Arrogance. It comes in many different forms and disguises itself behind self-righteousness and self-justification.
I can tell you. Once He revealed it, I shut down those conversations. No longer do I allow those thoughts to have one nanosecond of my time or energy.
Has arrogance and pride crept into your life somewhere?
Pride crept in slow. So slow I didn’t realize it until it reared its ugly head. The saddest part of my condition was I became puffed up and proud of my own spiritual maturity. Which was no maturity at all.
It’s not easy to admit. Embarrassing to say the least. And I marveled at the hurt my pride caused someone I dearly love. I’m still ashamed, still get nauseous when I think about how I acted.
It is a place I never want to return to, though I’m not proud enough to say I never will. The lesson was hard, the fall left me face down in the muck of my reality. There was no love in my pride except self-love. Somehow, slowly but surely, I became a lover of myself at the expense of the one I claimed to love. I was a Pharisee through and through.
I live differently now. I often ask God to show me prideful places in my heart. I want Him to reveal where I can put on humility in the face of pride. Because in the end I can either humble myself or be humbled. I’ve learned the first always leads to love.
Read Proverbs 16:18
What does pride lead to?
Those who are puffed up with pride are headed for a fall… a very destructive fall. God will not allow us to inflate our own egos. Remember, everything we have and are is from Him. When we boast pridefully about what we have or who we are, we steal His glory. Therefore, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
Read James 4:10
What advice does James give?
Humble yourself before Him, before He does it for you. Bring yourself low and wait for Him to lift you up.
Is there someone in Scripture who God humbled because of pride or arrogance? Can you think of someone who humbled themselves before the Lord? Considering either case, what was the result?
Lord, bless me with a humble attitude of thanks. May my own insecurities not keep me from loving others. Show me how to identify with the sins of others. Fill me with sorrow for their sins and for mine.
This week’s spiritual discipline:
Before you begin your quiet time with God each day make the sign of the cross and consider this prayer.
As you touch your forehead pray: God is for me, Heavenly Father… come.
As you touch each shoulder: God along side me, Jesus… come.
As you touch your chest: God within me, Holy Spirit… come.
Questions for your Summer Soak journal:
What stirs up your need to put yourself on display before others or to make yourself seem bigger and better, more worthy?
Who do you see as less than yourself?
Ask God to reveal your areas of sin, which are just as dark.
Ask God to bring healing to those places in your heart.
Record your experience with the spiritual discipline: What did you learn from the exercise? If you didn’t do it, what kept you from doing it?