Jesus · Love

Love Like Jesus – Without Boasting


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Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Boasting

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love does not envy or boast

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus does not envy or boast

Boast

The second term that describes what love does not do is boast

This word is used only once in the New Testament and we find it in the verse we are looking at.

The term is built on a root word to describe a braggart. Our modern descriptions would include a show-off, a blowhard, and egotist.

How does this relate to the popular self esteem movement that has travelled through the modern church in the last few decades? Is there a conflict with the teaching of high self esteem and the characteristic we are looking at today. Is being a braggart comporable to being one with high self esteem?

First off, let me confess my history with this movement. I have been involved with a church that jumped into this self esteem movement when it became uber popular in the 90’s.

I struggled with it due to the teaching that self esteem is equated with self love, and this is definitely a teaching that we need no help on. The Word describes us humans as having no trouble with self love. As a matter of fact, it is self love that has drove us from the love of God and love to God.

One of the passages those who propose the self esteem teaching like to refer to is Matthew 22:39. I published a blog post a few months ago on this verse, trying to get some clarity on the teaching. You may want to check it out. What Jesus Probably Didn’t Mean – Matthew 22:39

There is a confidence we believers are to exhibit due to the love of God expressed through Jesus work on the cross, the sacrifice he has given to redeem us from ourselves. Focusing on our own self is a dangerous past time.

A number of Bible passages speak of our requirement to humble ourselves. Verses such as

James 4:6-10

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

If we seek our own exaltation, we will fail. Humility before the Lord is the only way to be pleasing to the Lord and to find our self worth.

1 Peter 5:5-6

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

One more passage that speaks of the need of humility. It is imperative that we see this as an action we are to initiate. We are to humble ourselves.

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

It is interesting that Paul does not tell believers to not think of himself too lowly than he ought to think. Think with sober judgement. Serious contemplation of self before the throne of the Father will bring about a crumbling of our self love. He is the one worthy of our love. Bragging of our own self worth or of our accomplishments is not in the description of love we are considering in this post.

So is boasting to be evident in the believer? The Word speaks of boasting in a favorable light.

Psalm 34:2-3

My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Our boasting is to be in the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice how David connects humility with boasting in the Lord. In our boasting of ourselves, we cut off opportunity to exult in the Lord

1 Corinthians 1:31

so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Paul, in speaking to the Corinthians, prior to getting to our chapter on love, speaks of the proper place of boasting the the believers life.


2 Corinthians 10:17

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

It seems the Corinthians didn’t quite get the message last time since Paul needs to remind them one more time of the principle of boasting for the believer to be in the Lord, (and not in themselves).

Galatians 6:14

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Paul, in his teaching to the Galatians, speaks of the exclusivity of his boasting, in relation to his religious duties before the Father. He has none, as we need to recognize in our lives also, that before the holy Father, our deeds are not of boasting value. Only in the cross of Christ is the truth of boasting for the believer.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Jesus does not boast.

Is that a good description of the Lord Jesus? A few posts earlier, I referred to the Lord’s self description

Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

He describes Himself as lowly in heart. Humble.

Since He is God in the flesh, any statement he makes could not be boasting. Say He declared “I made the moon” Well, that is a true statement, and the element of boasting may be evident if I said it, (along with the bold face lie), but for Him to make this statement would only be stating part of a greater truth.

I can’t see, given the status of our Lord, where boasting would be a possibility. He cannot lie and any statement He supplies is truth. Boasting may also be considered an attitude of superiority, and Jesus has informed us that this is not His attitude.

His attitude is of humility, of gentleness and of a low degree. This mind of Christ is to be in us my brothers. We are to take on humility and gentleness.

Philippians 2:5

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Please join me in our next study where we will consider a sister characteristic of being “puffed up”. Hope you can join me as we continue our study.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

7 thoughts on “Love Like Jesus – Without Boasting

  1. Godly love – Christ-like love is what I believe many Christians need to get back to in order to lay the foundations of a true and authentic relational faith with God. Christ said that the greatest commandment rests upon love. Our love toward God in its full and absolute capacity. And the love toward others in its full and absolute capacity.

    Yes, the 90’s was the bedrock of the positivity movement within Christianity. It appeared to mirror the secular movement of the self-love and think positive aspirations of the rise of New Age philosophy. With that there was the rise of the “emergent Church”.

    What I have come to discover, for me personally, is that there are two types of self-love. What you described here is one of selfishness, of maintaining a more secular view of being the best with some moral components. The end result is to move toward being one’s own “self-guiding truth and light”.

    True self-love comes from God and helps us understand who we truly are. It shapes and molds us into better individuals. We come to love ourselves because God first loved us – despite our flaws and sinful nature (I like how the Apostle Paul talked about how God first loved us while we were yet sinners).

    If we truly embrace the idea of Godly and Christ-like love, then we can move into a more Christ-like love of knowing who we are through Christ. This, in turn, allows us to manifest God’s love toward others. Serve with honesty and integrity.

    Godly, and Christ-like, love is also character building and based on our willingness and commitment to be humble and walk in obedience to God’s wisdom and truth.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Timothy – Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts.
      I think I understand what you are trying to communicate, yet I struggle (with a bias from my past?) that self love is never commanded in the Word.
      Self love is used to describe the extent of love for our neighbor (Matthew 22:39), but is not necessarily commended.
      Also, Paul indicates in 2 Timothy 3:2 of people being “lovers of self”, in the midst of a list of sins that will be present during times of difficulty. It is this very passage that made me reconsider the self esteem movement, especially when I read on to verse 5.
      Of course as we discuss this topic, as you find passages to correct my thinking, it would be appreciated if you share them and continue our discussion.
      Have a blessed day.

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      1. If you look at what Paul is saying to Timothy, people who become “lovers of self” possess particular characteristic traits – being boastful, greedy, manipulative (abusive) and eventually turn to hate God.

        What I am referring to is the type of self love where we accept who we are and understand ourselves in light of who Christ is.

        Think of it this way: How can I love someone as much as I love myself? Godly love – Christ-like Love is forgiving, it is showing grace, it is compassionate.

        In this way, true self love means we are forgiving of ourselves when we falter. We are compassionate and kind toward ourselves in a way that shows grace.

        Most typically cite the love passage 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

        Love is patient – am I patient with myself?
        Love is kind – am I being kind to myself?
        Love does not envy – am I being envious?
        Love does not boast – am I boasting?
        Love is not proud – Am I proud (this one is a bit tricky and complex)
        Love does not dishonor – am I dishonoring myself and therefore dishonoring others?
        Love is not self-seeking – am I seeking praise, adoration, or seeking others to fulfill my own unmet needs?
        Love is not easily angered – do I have a temper and get angry quickly?
        Love keeps no record of wrongs – do I continually beat myself up over past failures and missteps, hurts, and hangups?
        Love does not delight in evil and only rejoices in truth – Do I take delight in those things that are evil (think of some of the entertainment and music) or do I give myself to rejoice in truth?
        Love always protects – Do I stand with God and protect my heart, mind, and spirit?
        Love trusts – Do I trust myself in believing God
        Love hopes – Do I have assurance of faith and hope?
        Love perseveres – Do I have the strength and courage to endure and see through my own struggles because of my faith in God?

        As we see, every aspect of Love helps us understand true self love as it is meant to be. Not the way the world proclaims one has to have.

        Hope that helps clarifying and answering your question.

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      2. Timothy – Thanks for trying to clarify your position.
        I don’t think Paul is describing traits of self loving people as boastful, greedy etc. The verse doesn’t state …men shall be lovers of their own selves THAT ARE boastful envious etc. To be lovers of their own selves is the first trait of men in dangerous days.

        Self love is our burden, a distraction from the love of God, and is to be avoided in the Christian life.

        Regarding the passage in 1 Corinthians, it seems your emphasis is on self and not on the Lord. The message of the Bible is to get our eyes off ourselves and onto the Lord Jesus Christ. Only by gazing intently on Him do we have any hope of being transformed into His likeness.

        2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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      3. You missed my point entirely of what I was saying. There are two types of self love. One that the secular views. And there is one that is Godly and Christ-like. how can we love others as our selves if we don’t love ourselves the way God loves us?

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      4. When Jesus stated we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, he was challenging us to love our neighbor based on the ultimate love we experience everyday, something we know and we all have, that is the way we currently love and cherish ourselves. (He did not say love your neighbor and yourself!)

        Where does the Bible define two types of self love?

        I realize you may read your definition into the passage, but I am asking where the Bible teaches self love as a goal for us to seek.

        Everytime self love is spoken of in the Bible, it is either as a fact, a detriment to our spiritual growth, or of the characteristic of one against God and His Son.

        You may want to check out the following link, where I posted on this passage previously.

        https://consideringthebible.com/2020/04/04/matthew-2239/

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