February 15, 2013

No Boasting, No Vaunting

1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 13:4

Love … does not boast…
—1 Corinthians 13:4


The old King James Version of the Bible, written in the beautiful language of the 1600s, uses these words in 1 Corinthians 13:4: “Charity vaunteth not itself.” To vaunt is to verbalize your own prowess, to express your vanity. It can include showing off after besting an opponent, and smirking as you walk by a defeated rival.

We boast for a lot of reasons. We want to be affirmed, and affirmation can be a good thing. But when that becomes our key motivator, we will do anything to gain the approval of others—that is, we’ll do anything except to show love.

A teenage boy takes a girl on a date. All night long he talks about himself. As he walks her to the door to say goodnight, he realizes he’s been talking about himself all evening. So he says, “I apologize. I’ve been talking about myself all night. Why don’t you talk about me for a while?”

The Greek word for “boast” or “vaunt” comes from a root meaning “windbag.” When we boast, we spew a kind of foul hot air that comes from inner conceit.

Love is not a windbag. It doesn’t demand that its accomplishments be noticed. It doesn’t need to dominate a conversation. It can be happy if another shines while it stands quietly on the sidelines.

Father in heaven, let us rest in your accomplishments: in creation, on the cross, and at the resurrection. Help us to boast only in what you have done for us. In the name of our humble Savior we pray. Amen.

About the author — Kevin Adams

Dr. Kevin Adams has served as a church planter/pastor in the Sacramento, California, area since 1991. He and his wife, Gerry, began Granite Springs Church in Lincoln, and this congregation has helped to nourish several other church plants. Kevin also serves as a director of the Sierra Leadership Network, a training program for new church leaders.

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