…It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud

Ouch.

Just reading this section of 1 Corinthians 13:4 is hard for me. Love does NOT envy, it does NOT boast, it is NOT proud.

Let me just say this, I DO envy, I DO boast, and I AM proud.

Again I say, ouch.

I have recently, just hours ago, found myself envying people and where they are in life. I wish so much that I could be in the situations they are in. Wishing to be further in life is not always a bad thing, but it becomes one when we become so focused on the future that we don’t use the time we have right now for God.

The times I have found myself being boastful are the moments that I accomplish something completely by myself. When I do something alone, I get all excited and proceed to tell my family about what it is that I just did on my own. It could be something as simple as a craft project that I was working on, but oh, do I get boastful about it.

The sad truth of being boastful sort of leads in to the reality of being proud. Since I enjoy doing things on my own, probably a bit too much, asking for help can be such punch in the gut for me. I really do despise showing any sense of dependence. And that is a sad, sad place to be.

Being envious of people’s relationships, stuff, or situations just shows us that we are discontent with our own relationships, stuff, and situation. And do you know why we are discontent with our own life? Because we spend SO much time envying others that we don’t focus on what we have. Are you jealous of a friendship someone else has? Instead of spending so much energy being envious, why don’t you invest in a relationship you have right now?

Being boastful shows us that we are bit too selfish. We want the focus to be on us and our accomplishments, whatever they may be. I am not saying that you shouldn’t share your accomplishments with the people who love you, I am just saying that we need to be sure we are listening to others more than we are speaking about ourselves.

Being proud shows that we are still in some delusional place where we think we can survive without God and others. It is easy for me to give God my eternity; I know I can’t handle that one. It is much harder for me to ask for help on a little problem, like homework, or anything I don’t understand. If it shows my lack of knowledge, I don’t want to ask. But God put people in our lives to help us. He doesn’t want us to go through life alone. We need to be dependent at times. I need to be dependent at times. People need people. Without others, we wither.

I don’t know about you, but personally these are all areas that I can most certainly improve on. I love being convicted by the same words I have read hundreds of times, it just shows that the Word truly is living and active. No more spending my time pining over what others have, no more talking my accomplishments up, and no more pride problems. With God’s help, I know I can become more like Jesus.  And so can you.

Love is Kind

As you can see from my previous posts, I am going through “The Love Chapter” of the Bible (as if the Bible itself isn’t entirely about love!) and writing about the specifics of love. Please don’t let this fool you in to thinking that everything you or I need to know about love will be in these posts. I believe that we will be learning what love is and how to love others for the rest of our lives. None of us will know it all this side of Heaven and that is just something we have to get over. We can, however, try to satisfy this thirst for knowledge by studying the Bible. That being said, this post in particular is about how love is kind.

Honestly, this word doesn’t need a lot of explaining. The word kind doesn’t mean something different in the original language than it does in English. There is no dramatic thought process of; I don’t know what kindness is! I think we all know how to be kind to others. We need to think less about the definition of kindness and more about who we show kindness to.

When it comes to being kind to people, we find it much easier to be kind to those who are kind to us. When we find people who are pleasant or nice to be around, we are kind to them. You know who we aren’t kind to? The guy that cuts us off in traffic or the person ahead of us in the 10 items or less checkout lane with 30 items! For me, I still get upset when I recall the person who took my spot, the only available spot, at the gas station. My blinker was on and everything. I think steam may have been coming out of my ears that day.

People can make it hard for us to be kind to them, but when we think about God and who He is kind to, it should change our perspective on how kind we are to others.

As we know, God is love and love is kind. We also know that God does not pick and choose who He loves. Because of this, we know that God is kind to everyone. He doesn’t look at someone and say, yeah sorry, I am not going to be kind to you because of what you’ve done. As humans, we are so incredibly work-based. When someone does something rude, our automatic response is to be rude back because of what they did. But God doesn’t base how He responds to us by what we do. He is loving and kind because of who He is, not because of what we do.

Jesus never let the way people treated Him change the way He responded to them. As people trying to be more like Jesus, our response should be the same. 

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14

Love is Patient

Wow, first off let me apologize for my lateness when it comes to posting. I just got a new job and it is taking up a lot more time than I thought it would. Right now though my job is taking a nap (I’m nannying a ten month old!), so I have a moment or two to blog.

Patience. This is a word that I’ve never really enjoyed. Waiting has never really been my thing. I’ve come to realize that being impatient is simply another way of being selfish, of me wanting what I want exactly when I want it.

I can specifically remember one lesson we taught in the children’s ministry of my church that was on patience. This lesson described patience as “waiting with a happy heart”.

Ouch.

I can tell you many times that I have waited for something and outwardly I was fine, but on the inside my heart was anything but happy.

In life, we need patience in so many ways. We have to have patience with the people we do our lives with; the other imperfect sinners of this world. We have to have patience with ourselves in the times when we fail, and I would also say that we have to have patience with God at times.

There have been countless times in my life that I have prayed and waited for an answer, and then, two seconds later when I hadn’t heard the voice of God, got frustrated with His lack of communication. Where is my patience then? Did I ever think that maybe in making me wait, God is preparing me for His answer?

When I think of patience, my first thought is not when I’m patient with my siblings when they are getting on my nerves, or when I’m patient with the friend who will not stop complaining. I think about how patient God is with me.

If you’ve grown up in church, then you have heard that God is love. So you know that everything love is, God is too. Love is patient. God is patient. And seriously, thank God for that! If my God wasn’t a patient God, I would not be going to Heaven.

There have been so many times in my life that I haven’t understood what was happening. Times that I questioned God and what He was doing. I can see God saying, “Just wait, you’ll understand so soon!” just like a father trying to make a child understand something that they just don’t get yet.

 God is so very patient with us. He did not have to have any relationship with us. His life certainly would have been a lot easier without imperfect sinners involved. But God is so loving and patient that He wants us in His life. He desires us. His patience will forever outweigh our sin.

Why does this matter?

It matters because we need to be more patient with others. I need to be more patient with others. Here is how I see it. Love is patient. God is love. My purpose on earth is to be more like God. If God is love and love is patient, then I should be patient too. In being patient, I am becoming more like God.

And shouldn’t that be the focus of my life?