What love is not.

August 18, 2013

by Norm Miller

“Love is … not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,} does not rejoice in unrighteousness” 1 Cor. 13.4-6 (NASB).

After two words about what love does (exercises patience and kindness), above is the litany of how it doesn’t behave. Have you ever known an envious, conceited braggart? Maybe some Little League kid’s dad, or the person in the next cubicle at work. Nice picture?

Does your agape say, “Look at me”? If our works say, “Look how well I can love,” then there’s real question whether it’s agape at all.

What’s the personal perspective of envy and conceit? Obviously, self-centeredness, a spirit poles apart from outwardly-focused agape. Sometimes, entire churches become arrogant and conceited about its enrollment, its choir, its building program, or even that its pastor is prominent nationally.

Few Scriptures are more descriptive of what happens to the one consumed with self than Ezekiel 28.13-19, a passage symbolic of Lucifer’s fall. Jealousy and conceit contributed to his fall, and look how far he fell. He’s still falling. That’s one catastrophic ego trip.

Don’t trip and fall on your ego. Pray you keep the Lord Jesus Christ on the throne of your life. And ask the Lord to help you remember that, when you ascend the throne of your life, then you behave as did Lucifer. If Christ is your King, then the throne of your life is his. No one ever served the King by sitting on his throne.

© Norm Miller

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dr. james willingham

Great post, Norm. I spent two years doing research in the Greek on I Cors.12:31b-14:1a, accumulating some 2000 5×8 notecards. Then I wrote a paper on the passage. It was said by scholars of all persuasion that Paul based his description of agape on the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly, I regard the passage as the epitome of the Christian Faith, the ultimate word from God laying out His love as manifested in His Son who personified agape to perfection. Interestingly enough, Paul use in the phrase, “is not provoked,” is the word for paroxysm or enraged, something that he actually did over John Mark in Acts 15. Only Jesus never failed on this issue. We all come short of agape love. Praise God! He does not.

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