God is . . . not arrogant

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.

It is interesting that love is known not only for what it is but also for what it is not. It can be hard to describe what love is but we all understand the imagery suggested by what love is not. Still, you may be a little surprised that “not arrogant” is included in a description of love. So, what does arrogance look like and how does that contrast with love?
Some synonyms for arrogance are: conceit, haughtiness, egotism, and superiority. None of these sound like God. Our Father is not one to brag or self-promote. Love puts other people in first position and that is what God does. Also, arrogance comes often in comparison. Behaving in a superior or haughty manner is often more about putting someone else down in order to elevate oneself. God has no need to build Himself up. There is no one like God; no one even to compare with Him.

Truly there is no room for arrogance in love. Love shouldn’t be self-effacing but it should be modest, putting the love of the other person ahead of selfish, arrogant aims. Because God is love, His first thought is always about you. This is true. He isn’t worrying about Himself. He is fine and He is secure. Everything He has ever done, everything He does is for your welfare. He is not prideful, arrogant or boastful. He is kind, modest, meek and gentle. He is not out to prove how great He is or even to have you constantly bowing and kowtowing to Him. He made you a child. You are His beloved. There is no room for prideful or arrogant expression in true love. Love is not arrogant and thus neither is God.

God is . . . not a braggart

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag.

Boy, you ought to see the synonyms for this one. Here are some of the ones my computer thesaurus retrieved for braggart: boaster, showoff, bigmouth, loudmouth, windbag and egotist. Interesting, huh? I am especially intrigued by “egotist.” That really is the central problem underlying all of the synonyms. This has a relationship, also, with yesterday’s Word from the Lord. Love is not self-centered therefore, not jealous nor boastful.

How distasteful, really, is a braggart? Is it amplified when we think of love bragging? True love has no reason to brag or boast of itself, or Himself. The love of God is absolute. In fact, it is the most powerful force on earth or beyond. If there was a way for physicists to measure it we would see this truth. God is secure in who He is and in our relationship with Him. He knows that we sometimes reject Him but it does not alter His truth. We can take Father’s example in this. Though a person reject us, we are still safe, secure and loved by our Father. We don’t even have to brag on this unsurpassed love of the Father. It shows. When you have accepted that the heavenly Abba loves you, your face begins to beam with that assurance. You and the Father have an unbreakable link which goes so deeply, even into your cells and tissues, that there is no need for anyone to brag. The joy is in just being in that great a love. Love doesn’t have to brag.

God is . . . not jealous

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind, and [love] is not jealous.

We have heard that God is a jealous God (Exodus 20: 5), so how does this make sense? Well, it is true. As the song says, “God don’t play second fiddle.” He will have no other gods before Him. However, His love is not jealous and in a general sense He is not. He just will not abide idolatry and that is very different. I think you can easily distinguish these expressions of God’s preeminence as your God from jealous love.

He is more than happy for you to have many loves. In fact, He has told us that we ought to love one another even as He has loved us (John 13: 34). He desires that we be unified in love even as He and Jesus are one (John 17: 21). You see, love is not jealous.

Love, and therefore God, always wants the best for us. It isn’t selfish or controlling. It doesn’t take things or people away from us because it wants all of our attention. If someone in your life demonstrates these traits, then their love for you is not mature. This should be an immediate danger sign for you. Jealousy is not of God and is not godly. Further, there is no place in love for jealousy. What that person feels for you may be need or desire but it is not love.

God wants your time but He does not want to dominate your time or attention. His plan would be for you to take Him along on your run or your dinner out with friends. He does not have to be the center of attention and He does not want you to neglect the other parts of your life. His is a healthy love and as such is the model we should use in our interpersonal relationships. If people need to control us, they don’t love us. God wants you happy and healthy. His is a true love. He is not jealous.

God is . . . kind

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind.

Kindness is a consistent theme all through the Bible. God has continually shown His kindness to mankind. In the 25th Psalm David wrote, “Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old” (v. 6). David recognized and proclaimed that the kindness of God has been ever present. He has a heart of compassion towards us in all of life’s situations. There is never a moment in our lives, has never been a minute in all of history when the Lord’s thoughts towards us have not been thoughts of kind compassion.

What does the word “kind” bring to your mind? One observation from my dictionary is that it takes many words to describe kindness: 1. Of a friendly nature; generous or hospitable; warmhearted; good. 2. Charitable; helpful; showing sympathy or understanding. 3. Humane; considerate. 4. Forbearing; tolerant; charitable. 5. Courteous; thoughtful. It goes on but one other description included is that kindness shows a desire to promote others’ welfare.

Our Father is all of these things. I especially like the idea that His intent is to promote our welfare. If you really want to get the big picture of God’s kindness, run a thesaurus on each of the words from the dictionary. Already we see that kindness involves being aware of other people and their needs. God didn’t call us to Himself so that we could meet His needs. He calls us to Him so that He can care and provide for us. He is gentle and generous. He is tolerant rather than critical. Psalm 25: 10 reads, “All the paths of the lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” All that He thinks, all that He does is bathed in kindness.

Knowing God’s essential traits will help you to relate to Him better. I hope it will also cause you to trust Him at a deeper level. He is safe. He is kind.

God Is . . .

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient . . .

Would you like to know the character traits of God? Did you realize they are listed in the Bible? Yep, they are. You see 1 John 4: 8 tells us that God is love. Then we read here in Corinthians that “love is” patient . . .. So translate that and you get God is patient. Are you with me?

You can prove He is patient. One way is by reading the Bible. When you read the Old Testament you begin to wonder how humanity survived. The people sorely tried God’s patience but His patience won out and here we are. Then read the New Testament. Was not the people’s treatment of Jesus enough to provoke even the most patient of people? Yet God’s love prevailed. He and Jesus endured the ignorance and abuse hurled at them for the prize set before them. And what was that prize? Us. Wow. That doesn’t sound like much of a prize to me; certainly not reward enough to endure the cross. Apparently, that is what love does.

Another way to prove God’s patience is to look in your own life. Sometimes as I look back in my own life I shudder at my complete foolishness. I shout, “Glory” to God that He had the patience to wait out my wandering years and “Thank you Lord,” for His continuing patience as I try to find my way daily. Do you feel the same way? Can you feel His patience and love coating you right now as you think about the trials you put Him through? He will never fail you, never forget or forsake you. God is patient.