Previous posts in the Live Alive series can be found here.
I don't mean to brag, but I've blogged every day so far this month! That's the perfect way to start today's post on the second set of descriptors of love - love does not envy or boast - right? Hahaha. Truth be told, the daily blogging has been tough this week; we had a pet get injured and my schedule has been inconsistent, along with my sleep. My slightly-crazy determined personality has compelled me not to miss a day, but it hasn't been all roses!
I suppose the best way to start into this topic for real is to ask this question:
Why do we envy and boast?
How are envy and boasting related?
Then, of course, for our purposes here, we must ask:
How should alive people handle envy and boasting?
At the core of our beings, we want to be known and loved. The Bible tells us the only way we can know this wholeness is through the love of God in Christ Jesus. The Bible also informs us that the reason we envy and boast is because of sin, that rebellion against God. The biggest problem with this condition is it's insecurity. If I am responsible for being Queen of my own domain and I'm failing at controlling my kingdom, it's on me. The harsh truth is, I'm never in control of my kingdom, no matter how much I want to think I am. That insecurity - the vulnerability of an orphan with no one to care for her - breeds all kinds of ugliness. Two expressions of that ugliness are envy and boasting, both an outpouring of the pride that reigns in us when we are trying to be our own ruler.
Envy desperately wants what the other has. Boasting desperately wants the other to know she is worthy. Neither satisfy because we turn the corner and find yet another soul who has something else we want and because we constantly need to be proving ourselves in different ways to different people, and they may not thing we're as awesome as we want them to!
Notice that in 1 Corinthians, these are set in the negative: love does not envy and does not boast. So what does love do? Love is content. Alive people who are secure in their restored relationship with their Heavenly Father can rest. No longer do they need to be concerned that their needs will not be met, that they have to prove themselves to the world, or that everything depends on their own achievements. Christ died for their sins, set them free from bondage, gave them His righteousness, fills them will the power of His Spirit, and promises to never leave or forsake them. In short: they good!
Alive people handle envy and boasting by first repenting when tempted to go there AND by remembering who they are in Christ. The Gospel changes everything and turns them around every time!
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.
Alive people don't have time for rotting bones. Neither do you! We need LIFE and the Lord offers it. And one more thing that is SO IMPORTANT: the glory that we seek when we boast belongs not to us, but to the Lord. He alone is worthy to receive all glory, honor, and praise. Period. So when you feel like you need to promote yourself, stop for a second and think about how it is your Good Good Father who has provided you with that experience, gift, ability, etc. And lift that heart of yours up in WORSHIP AND THANKSGIVING to the One who saved you and has blessed you well, well beyond what you deserve.
Know contentment in the Lord;
He loves you so.
P.S. I feel like I could say so much more about how to live this out in the world, because these are two big hang-ups for me. Don't tell anyone! 😄 I'll cook up a couple more posts along these lines!