Hi, this is pastor Ken, thanks for joining me again for my Monday Marriage Message…Love Does Not Parade Itself; it is not puffed up

We are continuing this week with the defining characteristics of Agape Love according to 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Again we discover something that love does not do. Love does not parade itself and is not puffed up. What images arise in your mind when you think of the phrase “parade itself”? When I think about a parade there are several things I think of. A parade is a production. Parades are usually long, and parades definitely are intended to showcase the participants. They are often noisy and boisterous events and by the time they have passed me by in their entirety I often wonder why I stopped to watch in the first place. According to the dictionary a parade is a public event usually to mark an occasion, a long series of people or things, and finally a pompous show. According to these definitions love that paraded itself would make a long drawn out show of the things it did for others to mark the occasions and it would be pompous or self-important. in other words, it would be the opposite of humility. One who is “puffed up” would most probably find themselves deserving of a parade.

As we have in the past weeks we will look at the meaning of the original text for additional clarity. The Greek word we translate here to the phrase does not parade itself. also means to brag or boast about what it has done. The second word that we translate to puffed up has a connotation of over-inflating or blowing something up bigger than it really is, like inflating a balloon to the point of nearly bursting it. So according to these translations, agape love will not point out what it has done for someone and expect to be recognized for it, nor will it over inflate or make its actions to be more than they really are. That behavior would actually be more consistent with someone who is in love with themselves. A love that parades itself or is puffed up is indicative of incredible selfishness.

Scripturally we have these examples of how humility and agape love go hand in hand. John 15:13 says: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jesus said that this selfless act is the highest evidence of love, and then reinforced that message by doing just that for us, the world He loves so desperately. Philippians 2:3-8 documented His love for us while giving further example of how we also can express agape love. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Agape love, genuine love, is far more concerned with the condition of others than it is of itself.

With this mindset it becomes possible for us to love in marriage as we are commanded to in Ephesians chapter 5. There we are instructed as husbands and wives to do the following. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, We are to be willing to lay down our lives for her (Eph. 5:25). As such we are to find her needs greater than our own. We are to find opportunities to demote ourself to promote our wives. Wives have much the same responsibility. They are commanded to submit to the leadership of their husbands (Eph. 5:22). This means that they are to support their husbands in all things. This selfless respect given freely is an act of agape love. The Apostle Paul reinforces this call for selflessness in our marriages and in fact in all of our relationships. Romans 12:10: Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.

Real love, true love, agape love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up. It doesn’t need to call attention to itself, it lets its loving words and actions do the speaking for it. There are times we may find this difficult. We may want to point out to someone that we are doing all the right things, especially when we may not feel we are getting credit for it. Resist that temptation. Agape love will speak for itself, but even when we may think that our love is going unnoticed, God says it isn’t true. Matthew 25:40 says that God’s response to those who put the good of others above self and do not seek credit for it will be this…Then the King will answer, “I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.”

Questions to Answer:

  1. Is it easy or difficult for you to show love to someone if that love is not reciprocated or at least recognized?
  2. Do you consider those selfless loving actions to be something you are doing for the one they are directed toward, or do you look at it as though you are doing them for God?
  3. What difference does it make or would it make if you look at those loving actions or words as something you were doing directly for Christ?

Actions to Take:

  1. If you have been disappointed because you often don’t “get credit” for loving actions toward someone, choose now to continue to act in loving ways but from now on recognize you are doing those things for God.
  2. Pray and ask God to point out even greater opportunities to love your spouse for Christ.

So now, in agape love, selfless love, a love that needs no parade thrown in its honor…go be awesome