Love Is Not Arrogant

“The opposite of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is not hate but pride.”- John Piper

Pride is one of the root sins from which other sins sprout. When we have pride in our hearts, we convince ourselves that we don’t need help, that we are strong and can do the task on our own, and so on. Often, pride begins in our thoughts and is revealed through our actions. I think that, as with all sin issues, we need to attack this problem at the root. Matt Chandler says it well: “Any grounds for boasting, swagger, or self-exaltation are foolish.” Pride often starts when we look at ourselves and think that we’re something worth writing home about. Let me give you a look at yourself. 

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”  James 2:10

If it were not for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, we would be nothing. To God, we appear as filthy rags, guilty of countless sins. We are ugly, useless creatures apart from Jesus. Thankfully, Jesus covers this and has paid for our sins. However, he did not come to save us just so that we would go back to boasting about ourselves. We still cannot boast about ourselves; we boast in Christ. 

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

“My soul makes its boast in the LORD…” Psalm 34:2

“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.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

Thus says the LORD. This just in, straight from the Lord’s mouth: you have nothing to boast about. NOTHING. So, now that we have covered that… how does that relate to how we are to love others? 

“Love… is not arrogant…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is not arrogant; love cannot be arrogant. Someone who has too high of an opinion of themselves cannot love others with the quality of love that Paul challenges us to have. Read the following illustration and then I’ll wrap up the article:

“There is a pedestal. It’s about seven feet tall, beautifully carved, fit for a king. Each man may choose who they place on the pedestal; they can choose from anyone in history. They may even put ideas, studies, and morals on this pedestal. Now, before this story continues, I must add that this pedestal was magic and had the power to severely influence each person. There were three men on this certain day. Each would take their turn while their families looked on. They walk up; place the name of the person, idea, study, or moral on the pedestal, then return to their family as different men.

The first man walked up solemnly and withdrew a name from his coat pocket. The paper read: Science. This man had wrestled with Christianity for almost two decades and had finally given up altogether and began to literally worship science.

The second man also approached the pedestal in a serious manner. He pulled out the name from his pocket, and behold! It was his name! He had searched and searched for someone who was better than he was and hadn’t been able to come up with anyone.

The third man walked up to the pedestal and quietly placed God’s name on the pedestal. Then the three men returned to their families.

The first man was hardly changed, except that he was even more frustrated than before at the lack of clarity that science offered. The second man, entirely full of himself, told his family that he no longer needed them; he was enough in-and-of himself. The third man rejoiced with his family and they worshiped God.

Okay, okay, I know that it is a cheesy story, but at least think about it. Which man (or woman) are you? Which one do you want to be? The following quote accurately sums up the application for this article.

So we set ourselves to self-examination and prayer again: O Lord, reveal and destroy the pride in our lives.” – John Piper

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