Wednesday, 25 March 2015

I am so great, I am so great na na na na na...

Love does not boast

Try to imagine me singing that in a high-pitched annoying voice. Think, 'younger sibling besting you at cards.' And yes he often beats me at cards.

So beyond my inspiring and insightful title this post stumped me. I read up on boasting in my Bible, did a bit of research and in the end this is what I came up with but feel free to disagree, you know, lovingly ;) 

If one boasts, one implies that one is superior to others. And that's not particularly loving, to make someone feel inferior. It can be done in a cheery, light-hearted manner (think mischievous rather than malicious), as per the title. But I doubt that's what Paul's trying to communicate to the Corinthians. 

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galations 6:14) 

What does this mean? I'm still puzzling it out but my sense is that just as we are saved by faith, and not by works ("so that no one can boast"), I believe "love does not boast" is the same as saying "love is humble." Writing this I feel like that's super obvious and you're wondering when I'm going to get to the point (never! Mwahaha! Wait, is that loving or...?). Grace gives us no room to boast. It's handed to us by God on a cross-shaped platter (did you understand the imagery? DID YOU?!). We don't even have to reach for it, God pretty much puts it in our hand. And thus we return to the age old battle between perfectionism and grace...

Spoilers: grace wins every time.

It's like part of me wants to work hard and reach for some (unattainable) goal or target just so I can say, "Ha! I did it! Me!" (I am the best, I am the best na na na na...). Sounds a bit like boasting huh? So, then, what does its loving counterpart sound like?

I'm actually not sure what it 'sounds' like but I know what it looks like. It's me, finally giving in, at some odd hour of the morning, lying flat on my face before God and saying 'help.' It's laying down my pride, my desire for perfection, and opening myself up to our loving heavenly Father. It is not hiding behind tears and false humilty, or beating myself down. It's submission, no matter how loud that rebellious voice howls. It's everything I'm not but everything that grace allows me to be. I know at heart I'm a rebel but I also know that God loves me anyway. 

In this interpretation, the loving part is not letting boasting interfere with our relationship with God. When I am proud, when I hide part of myself from God, the part that desires to boast in my own abilities, I hurt God. 

Wait? You do what now? 

I hurt God.

Nah, still not getting it.

Yes I don't fully understand it either (for further reading I recommend Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge). However, I am learning, as I grow closer to God, that He wants me to love Him and it hurts Him when I push Him away. For an imperfect comparison, think about how much it hurts when someone you care about distances you emotionally when they're upset. God cares about us and wants to build a relationship with us. Yeah, I'm still struggling to wrap my head around it and I doubt we'll be able to fully appreciate it before this world ends and the New Earth begins. 

P.S. I hope you don't mind my sense of humour and rambling in this post. It's worse when I'm tired!