However, what Paul is on about to the Corinthians is about relationships not selling. In 1Corinthians 13:4b two close knit words are used to describe what Love isn’t. Boasting is one and implies the flaunting of one’s abilities. Proud is the other and as the King James Version has it, ‘puffed up’ which implies vanity and self deception. It would seem that such an attitude was the atmosphere of Corinth. The old song ‘anything you can do I can do better’ descriptive of pagan society seems to have found its way into the Church. That made esteeming others better than yourself difficult at best, galling at worst. This was especially so when the ‘elite’ of society were worshipping with the ‘lower classes’ and everyone was called ‘brothers or sisters.’
Paul’s challenge to his readers was to understand the real problem of the heart. It was a dearth of Christ’s love within the believer’s. The answer, fall in love more deeply with the Lord. That will control the ‘I’ problem. How does that come about? By love’s ability to create a sense of awareness of others! It does not deny the facts about personal ability or achievement. It simply rearranges their priority in relational terms.
In God’s presence we realise that no matter how important we think we are, when compared to God we are all slum cities. The awesomeness of what He has done in our life through commitment to Jesus is seen in what we are now called. We are Temples of the Most High God. He has made us beautiful. That old hymn still rings true as 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 is why self exaltation is so dangerous. It makes us deaf to the pain and needs of others. The grace of the Lord Jesus puts us all on a level foundation, each with particular gifts, abilities and histories, yet all are valued members of the family of faith. We all have stories worth listening too. Love gives space for that to happen even to the most unlikely of persons Love helps us look at others from the bible’s viewpoint, not social status or worldly achievement. Love cleans our ears to hear what they’re saying. Love opens our eyes to see how others are travelling.
Love for Christ Jesus allows the Holy Spirit to unleash His word and influence through us without any sense of self–delusion or superiority. His presence within releases us to be genuinely thrilled at the successes, achievements and even the attempts of others. Love delights in the Lord. Therefore it can appreciate the worth and achievements of others. Love ennobles those with whom we live, work, worship and play. When that happens, appreciation, intimacy and unity begin to permeate each of our lives.
I guess that is one reason why I appreciate the Christian Writers scene. Sure we do our promotions, however we also help promote the work of each other. Sure we have to talk up what our writing and stories are about, but we also acknowledge the work and worth of our colleagues. Sure we have not met everyone in our scene, yet there is an interest and a support for those still unknown. That must be love!