Self-promotion is an art form today. It’s made easier with so much computer technology available. Such self-promotion may be advisable for job interviews but doesn’t do anything for personal relationships. In this part of 1 Corinthians 13 two close knit words are used to describe what Love isn’t. Boasting implies the flaunting of one’s abilities. Proud, or as the King James version has it, ‘puffed up’ implies vanity and self-deception. Both seem to arise out of Envy’s craving to be recognised, acclaimed, unrivalled. The aspect of Pride will be considered next.
The Corinthian believers had fallen into the spiritual snare of comparing their gifting and positions in the Church. “My gift is better than yours” smells of immaturity. Such childishness, as Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 13:11, was making a mockery of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. A grieved Holy Spirit does not produce a joyful saint.
In relationships, self-promotion is the surest way to paralyse intimacy and cripple respect. Self-praise fills up the mind allowing no room to consider the needs or interests of others. It also breeds a form of loneliness, not always recognised, for few enjoy being around such an intrusive, careless, diseased ‘universe.’ Such a disease of the soul has unfortunate life-long consequences including, strife, resentment and disrespect. This fall-out from self-obsession is usually blamed on other things, or people.
The glory of the most excellent way is its ability to cure the “I” disease. If self-exaltation makes us deaf to the pain and needs of others, Love cleans out our ears. It helps us hear their tears and sighs. If self-adulation blinds, Love opens eyes to see how others are travelling. How does that come about? Love creates a sense of awareness of others whilst not denying the facts about personal ability or achievement. Love simply rearranges their priority. Now they see the worth of others. Now the mouth applauds their skill and achievements. This soul readjustment by the most excellent way begins with understanding who God is and what He has done.
In His presence we realise that no matter how important we think we are, in God’s sight we were slum tenements. The awesomeness of what He does in our life through our conversion experience is seen in what we are now called. We are Temples of the most High God. He has made us beautiful. That which the Lord has done for us, He can do for others. That old hymn still rings true today when it states, ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.’ All within the community of grace are undeserved recipients of Christ’s favour and transformation. That’s an eternal remedy for ego’s ‘I’ disease. The one we should be boasting about is Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:30-31.)
The most excellent way allows the Holy Spirit to unleash His word and influence through us without embarrassment. Love delights in the Lord. Therefore it can appreciate what He has made of others and equipped them to do. Through us, Christ in us ennobles others within our spheres of influence. He does this by His attitude and encouragement dominating our nature by our submission to Christ and His word. Mutual appreciation, intimacy and unity begins at that moment.
That’s the most excellent way!