Christian Love Is Not Puffed Up
Our posting today is in support of our prior posting (What-is-Christian-Love) that broadly addressed Christian Love as it was presented in the First Letter to the Corinthians.
The topic of, “Not being puffed up,” is closely aligned with, “Love does not parade itself (Love-Does-Not-Parade-Itself).” One exception is that being puffed up carries with it an overly inflated sense of self worth as well.
Today we look to the example of Saul the Pharisee, who would later become the apostle Paul. Saul had persecuted the church of Jesus and in doing so was considered an up and comer in the ranks of the Jewish faith. That is until he was knocked off of his high horse and had to be cared for by the very people he had been persecuting. Here is the story:
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9: 1-6)
Needless to say Saul was no longer puffed up with his religious fervor. Jesus addressed this condition several times during His ministry and often associated it with hypocrisy. The puffed up state of Paul was that he saw himself gaining rank and status in the eyes of others. His hypocrisy was that he though that he was doing God’s work when he clearly was doing the opposite. The following scripture reveals what Jesus thinks about hypocrisy:
In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:9)
We had hypocrites in Jesus’ day and we have them still today. National news has identified a few of our religious leaders who have committed adultery. Others profess to be leaders of the people but sometimes appear to be shake down men and thieves. There are reports that some TV evangelicals who receive tremendous wealth from their ministries such that they live in luxury, sometimes on the contributions of the poor. There are reports that some priests have abused children.
Therefore, guard your every action to ensure the alignment of your heart with your actions and words. Do not deny your Lord and Savior under any circumstances and certainly do not fear the actions of men because you speak the truth. Finally, recognize that hypocrisy can not be love and therefore avoid it at all costs.
The purpose of these publications concerning love is to assist anyone who is seeking to become more like their savior Jesus Christ. Our approach is to communicate that the life and words of Jesus are the perfect model of what we hope to become. Our expectation is that the reader will contrast their own words and actions to those of Jesus and make an effort to discover where they fall short of the mark. Once shortcomings are identified then the reader can seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help them in moving closer to the perfection of the examples that Jesus left us.
We recommended that every person in ministry reflect upon their worthiness to serve by first studying these examples of Christian love.
We have presented a number of posting that address the principles of Christian Love. Each of them is reinforced by examples taken from the life and words of Jesus. The following list of hyperlinks is provided to help those interested in reading these other postings. Clicking on any of the links below will transfer you to the posting of your choice: