The Giving Season

Complimentary Story
November 2022
   The ‘giving season’ is fast upon us! Christmas time, with all the gifts and opportunities to show neighborly love has already arrived at the stores and will soon be appearing in our very own living rooms. But as Christians, the love God has given us to share with others is not intended to be hemmed in by a few weeks or months on the calendar’s grid. This agape love was given to us by God to share with the world every day. And so, we continue our layman’s look into 1 Corinthians 13 and what love is.

   Love is a choice. Therefore, all of the things that define what love is, as told to us in chapter 13, are also a choice. Love chooses to be patient, love chooses to be kind, love chooses not to envy or to boast. I Corinthians 13:4 (English Standard Version), “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast…”

   Let’s be reminded again that this passage in Scripture is about agape love – the love we are to show to others, borne of the Spirit, pleasing to God, and advancing the Kingdom. This love does not envy or boast primarily because those actions are ‘self’ love and in direct conflict with the love we are called to show to others.

   When I envy, I am looking at others; but not in order to give to them or to love them. Rather, they have something that I want and would like to take from them. It is not entirely a ‘self’ focus, but I am not focusing on the other person in order to bless them and give to them. Envy desires to have and to take that which belongs to another, wanting it for myself.
 
   Boasting is also in direct conflict with the nature of Biblical love, and is very much a ‘self’ focus; by that definition alone it can never be an avenue for God‘s agape love which focuses on others and gives just because it can. Boasting is looking at myself and being proud of what I have, what I have done, or who I am.

   Boasting denies the work of God by taking credit for my possessions, my accomplishments, or my nature. Envy impedes the work of God by seeking to take from others instead of giving to others.

   James 3:16, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

   In these verses, we see how envy and self-focus lead to the opposite of God’s plan. God is not a God of chaos and disorder; He wants us to practice good and not evil. How do we do this? By choosing to love others with God’s love that He has given to us to share. John 3:16, “for God so loved the world that he GAVE…”. God set an example for us of how to show selfless love to the world and bring eternal change through it. He gave us that example in Christ. Boasting and envy are in direct opposition to showing the selfless love of Christ to others.

   Love does not envy and it is not boastful are related… Envy wants to take from what someone else has, where agape love only desires to give to others. Boasting is proud of what I have in comparison to another; where agape love wants others to have the same thing I have (as a gift from God), which would eliminate all boasting. Envy focuses on taking/wanting from others; boasting focuses on keeping what I have that elevates me above others. Agape love always seems to level the playing field by GIVING what God has given to me, His agape love, to others.

   So, as Christmas time approaches, friends, let us remember that it is not a ‘season’ in the life of a Believer. God’s love gift to us, Jesus, enables us to live a life that is filled to overflowing with the ability to love others. No need to envy what others have or boast about myself. Let our boast be in the power of God’s love for each of us; living lives that show His love to others always…just because we can.

Chris McMahan, ‘Tea-vangelist’
Tea4Jesus.com
Email:
Happy1970@icloud.com


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