The word boast in Greek, which is only used in 1 Corinthians 13:4, comes from a word that means braggart. Braggarts brag or boast. It’s what they do. But not God, not love.
You probably know people who love to brag and boast. They talk about their accomplishments, and all the stuff they have, and who they know, as if they are special or superior to everyone else. They think more highly of themselves than they ought, as Paul would say. They make you feel “little” in their presence. How could you call that love? It’s not.
The Bible calls it worldliness. John the Apostle wrote, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For every¬thing in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does, comes not from the Father but from the world” (I John 2:15-16). Boasting does not come from God. Here is the reason.
Boasting is nothing more than a lie. Think about it. Those who boast and brag think they are superior to everyone else. Is that true? They may have more stuff and greater accomplishments, but does that make them better than anyone else. According to the Bible, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We all stand as equals at the foot of the cross.
Those who boast put others down. They humiliate those who, in their opinion, do not measure up. This was happening in Corinth. The rich in Corinth looked at their wealth as a sign of God’s approval. They despised the poor and would not associate with them, even at the Lord’s Supper. Paul confronted this evil head on. “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Those who boast are self-centered to the max. They seem to live to put others down. The dignity of others is of no concern to these braggarts. Paul warns that this self-centered bragging will be one of the causes of trouble during the last days. His words are alarming: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
Aren’t you glad that God is not like this, that He does not brag or boast? He could. He has much to boast about. He spoke, and the world came into existence. He conquered death. Who are we in comparison? Yet, He is mindful of us. I love what the writer of Hebrews had to say about Jesus: He is not ashamed to call us brothers. Jesus became one of us, was tempted like we are and tasted death so that we could become like Him. That’s love, a love that does not brag or boast, but reaches out.
Yes, we are humbled in His presence, but we are never humiliated. We may feel that He is miles away, yet in grace He draws us near. In love, He calls us, who were sinners by birth, His own. This is God, the One who “…chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:28-31).
Excerpted from Love Is – http://loveisbook.net/