Last week we looked at two things that love is. Today we are going to look at two things that love is not.
Love Does Not Envy
Envy is a nasty thing. It’s destructive. It serves no purpose but to tear down and breed bitterness and resentment. It separated people as it strives to destroy unity. It is no wonder that the first thing that love is not is envious.
This word for envy is the same word used in Acts 7:9 when it tells us that the patriarchs of the Jewish faith were “envious” of their brother Joseph so they sold him. That’s right. They were so envious of the love their father Jacob showed Joseph and they were jealous of the dreams the Lord had shown Joseph that they allowed bitterness and hatred to grow in their hearts. So much so that they sold their brother. Well, first they threw him in a hole to die but then they thought better of that idea and settled instead on just selling him to Egypt for a life of slavery.
Envy is what motivated the folks that put Jesus on the cross.
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. Matthew 27:18 KJV
I am telling you, envy is so destructive! It starts small and it just spawns and grows in the dark places in our hearts. James 4:2 says of it,
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. James 4:2 ESV
Now these may seem extreme and you may be saying to yourself, “I have never thrown anyone in a well. I haven’t sold anyone to a foreign country,” or “I have never crucified anyone or murdered them.” Don't be deceived. Envy can start small.
Have you ever watched someone else get a position at work that you have been dreaming of and working towards? Were you able to sincerely rejoice with that coworker for their achievement or did you feel the envy as you were passed over in favor of another?
Have you ever listened to a woman complain about her morning sickness after you’ve lost a baby during pregnancy? You’d give anything to have that baby and all the morning sickness that comes with it and here’s this woman complaining away about her mild nausea. Did you notice the burning envy?
Have you ever seen a new wife who seems to just have it all together and you’re over here trying to figure out how to keep your baseboards clean? Who knew you were even supposed to clean those?! How long have they been this dirty? She seems as perfect as her immaculate home and you're just trying to figure out how to keep cat hair off the stinking couch! No? No one? Just me? Okay.
These moments and situations burn through us. That is the definition of envy by the way. Envy is to burn with zeal and to be heated with hatred and anger. If we are honest we all know this feeling all too well. Others have what we want and it burns through us. It separates us from others and it causes us to believe the lie that while God may really be for other people, He is not for us. He is holding out on us.
The good news is that “Love does not envy.” It does not burn when we are ahead. It is for us. It enables us to be there for others. Romans 12:15 tells us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Love rejoices with us when we are rejoicing and it weeps with us when we are weeping.
Love Does Not Boast
Another thing love does not do is boast. It doesn't make itself seem cooler. It doesn't strive to convince and deceive the world into believing that it is better off or more than it really is. This “boasting” is the idea of being so completely focused on yourself and what others are thinking of you that you forget to care about others at all.
Even when you go out of your way to “love” others it is all about appearances and not actually about love and the well-being of others. Does this ring a bell for anyone else? Does it bother you when no one notices all the great things you’ve done? It is disappointing when you go out of your way and get no thank you’s or attaboys? It tends to bug the crap out of me.
Love does not boast in itself. It is not seeking glory for itself.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Romans 12:10
Love lifts others up. Love makes a big deal out of the people around it. Love is not focused on itself but instead, it focuses on the strengths and accomplishments of others. Love calls the extraordinary and inspires the good out of the people around it. I love how James puts it,
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:16-17 ESV
Jesus does not envy, He does not boast
Jesus celebrates your victories. God has got so much good in store for you. He is on your side. He is for you. He is not withholding good from you. You may at times feel envious but in those moments you can go to God and be open and honest with Him about how you are feeling.
You can tell God you feel like you got the short end of the stick and that you are struggling to trust that He has a bigger and better plan in store for you. You can tell God that you are upset about the thing you lost and you can trust that He will heal and restore and redeem.
God is not intimidated by our feelings. This is a relationship. He is committed to us. We can communicate freely.
I love that love doesn’t boast. I love that even if love were to start bragging about itself (which it won't) it could never over exaggerate how great and vast and deep and high and all-encompassing God’s love is for us. His love is so big and it is being dumped on you constantly.
Receive that love. Drown in that love. Fill up on the fact that God is for you and He has got your back no matter what. Fill up on the fact that He is interested and focused on you. Fill up and then overflow.
Overflow and show that same love you are experiencing from God to others. Don’t let envy reside in your heart. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing even when they have something that you want. Trust that God knows what you want and He knows what you need and He will take care of you.
Overflow and lift others high. Notice the good things other are doing and make a big deal about those things. Like a super big deal! You know what it feels like when the good things you do go unnoticed. Don't let the good things the people around you are doing go unnoticed. Be the person known for celebrating the achievements of others!
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3
I hope you guys are enjoying this series! I am loving writing it! I am thankful for each of you all. I love hearing from you what God is saying to you through these posts. If you found this helpful or if you’ve been reading the series I would love to know. Leave me a comment below. Also, consider sharing this with your friends and followers!
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Be blessed and be kind,