August 8, 2005

Love Does Not Boast (1)

Scripture Reading — 1 Cor. 13:4d; Luke 18:9-14

"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." — Luke 18:14

Boasting is bragging about what you think are great qualities about yourself or about people or things connected to you. People who boast really want to be respected, but they go about it the wrong way. People boast about all kinds of things: their accomplishments, their children, their school, the people they know, their race, their church, their religious achievements.

The Pharisee in Jesus' parable boasted of his own righteousness before God, while putting down the sinful tax collector. He was blinded to the truth that God's judgment of us is not based on the moral behavior of others. Instead, God judges us on the basis of his law. And, as Paul puts it, "No one will be declared righteous in [God's] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:20).

The tax collector, on the other hand, knew he could not stand before God and boast of his own righteousness. He knew he had deceived and cheated lots of people out of their hard-earned wages. He recognized that only God's mercy could relieve him of his guilt and set him on the path to a new life.

God's love in us does not boast about our human achievement. Instead, love moves us to boast in the "righteousness from God [that] comes through faith in Jesus Christ" (Romans 3:22).


Father, forgive me for the times I have boasted about my own achievements. Strengthen your love in me so that I may build others up in what I do. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship