Just as love does not envy, it also does not boast.
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:7).
The word boast in Greek, which is only used in 1 Corinthians 13:4, comes from a word that means braggart. Braggarts brag or boast. It’s what they do. But not God, not love.
You probably know people who brag and boast. They talk about their accomplishments, and all the stuff they have, and who they know, as if they are special, superior to everyone else. They make you feel “little” in their presence, as if you don’t measure up.
The Bible calls it worldliness. John the Apostle wrote, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does, comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15,16).
Boasting is nothing more than a lie. Those who boast and brag think they are superior to everyone else. They may have more stuff and greater worldly accomplishments, but does that make them better than anyone else? Just because someone has more than someone else does not make him superior. According to the Bible, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We all stand as equals at the foot of the cross.
Those who boast are self-centered. They seem to think that the world revolves around them. This jades the way they view others. They seem to live to put others down. The dignity of others is of no concern to these braggarts.
Aren’t you glad that God is not like this, that he does not brag or boast? He could. He has much to boast about. He spoke, and the world came into existence. He conquered death. Who are we in comparison?
Yet, he is mindful of us. I love what the writer of Hebrews had to say about Jesus: He is not ashamed to call us brothers. Jesus became one of us, was tempted like we are and tasted death so that we could become like him. That’s love, a love that does not brag or boast, but reaches out.
You may feel humbled in his presence, but you are never humiliated by God. You may feel that he is miles away, yet in grace he draws you near. In love, he calls you his own. This is God, the one who “...chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him”. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:28-31).