As we have been doing in these posts, let's turn to define these words before making some points of application. The term translated "arrogant" literally means "to puff up or blow up" (Strong's Concordance.) It can be used to refer to something being inflated, swelled up, or puffed up through the use of air-bellows. It is used figuratively to refer to one that is so prideful and arrogant he is full of himself. He/she is puffed up and has an inflated ego.
The term translated "rude" by the English Standard Version is a word that literally means "act unbecomingly." In can also mean to be or act improperly or unseemly. The Greek term comes from a word family that means "without shape or form." It can be taken to mean actions that are unseemly because they are not according to shape or form.
It is no stretch to say Paul uses this term to refer to actions or character that is not in keeping with Christ. He is the clearest expression of God's holy perfections, which include the perfect expression of love. To act unbecomingly or unseemly, or as the ESV states "rude," is to act out of form or shape of a follower of Christ.
Therefore, we can see that Paul is saying love is Christlike. It isn't taken up with self and proud of anything focused on self. Self swells easily, and pride is puffed up. Christ humbly and willingly lays aside Himself in the incarnation and accomplishment of the Father's will (Phil. 2:5-11). Therefore, when we are puffed up with any notions of self-righteousness, self-justification, arrogance, or pride in self, we are not acting out of anything other than self-love.
True, biblical love is also shaped by the Holy Spirit to conform to the pattern expressed by the Father and manifested through the Son. Love doesn't act unseemly or unbecomingly, but it acts in accord with the example of Christ. If it is wrought and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, the third Person of the Trinity, it will be in the shape, form, and pattern of the Son.
Consider the love you profess. Is it a love for the good of others or is it ever a love of yourself, your accomplishments, your abilities, your possessions, etc.? Do you ever sense yourself easily inflated or swelled with thoughts of how nice you are, good you are, etc.? Our focus is too easily distracted from others to self.
Is your love always according to the pattern set by Christ? Do you forgive like Jesus did? Do you always tell the truth like Jesus did? Are you more concerned with what others may think of you rather than what God will think? If we are honest, we will confess how easily we stray from the form of true love as expressed and displayed in Christ.
This was occurring in the Church at Corinth in the employment f the spiritual gifts given by the Spirit. If it could be so easily and grossly done in the context of the corporate church there, is it not also done easily among us in our own day?
By God's grace, let us strive for the more excellent way, the way of God's exalting Spirit-empowered love.