Today, we will continue looking at the characteristics of God’s love…
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).
Love does not parade itself. The Greek word for parade itself is perpereuomai, and comes from the Greek word perperos, which means a braggart, or a person who parades themselves and their accomplishments and talents before others. This is a person who loves to show off. A person who is insecure in themselves looks for ways to be elevated in others’ eyes. When a person is secure in God’s love and who they are in Christ, personal accomplishments and talents are simply tools by which to glorify God, and there is no need for self-glory. Personal bragging is really founded in personal pride! Being secure in God’s unconditional love and acceptance frees us from the need to gain approval from others, and frees us from the need to show off.
Being secure in love also frees us from the need that some have to put others down with sarcasm or cutting comments in order to make them look better. With agape love in force in our lives, we find it easy to keep quiet about genuine achievements. To quote Mrs. C Nuzum again, Love does not think, I know how things ought to be done- my opinions and advice are better than the opinion and advice of others – I live better, am used of God more, know more than the other person. 1
Love is not puffed up. The Greek word for inflate is the word phusioo, and means to inflate. A person with agape love ruling them has no need for others to see their accomplishments. A person living in love may acknowledge success, but knows that all success comes from God. No self-congratulations are necessary.
Though agape love doesn’t show off or need affirmation, it is also important to note that true humility can accept genuine thanks and applaud for good performance. I learned this in my own life over 40 years ago after performing the special music during a Thursday night church service. Someone came to me and told me how beautiful they thought my voice was and how well I performed the song. To which I replied, It wasn’t me, brother, it was just the Lord! My friend who complimented me then abruptly took me to a side hallway and told me that I was actually walking in a false humility; that if I were truly self effacing and humble I would say a simple thank you to any person complimenting my performance. I should afterward get alone and give God all the glory for using me to bless others; deflecting the thanks privately to Him who helped me.
Love deals a death blow to pride. Meditate today on the love of God, and allow it put your own personal pride in its place!
1. The Life of Faith by Mrs. C Nuzum (Springfield, MS: Gospel Publishing House, 1928,1956) p. 85