“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
(Love) does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)
If love isn’t behind all that I say or do; what I think and what I feel; then what am I? Am I a true disciple of Jesus Christ?
I can’t turn my motives on and off at will.
I appreciate that God, in His Wisdom, arranged it so I would write about Love. Not really; I think He did it on purpose to show me my shortcomings. By saying I appreciate this, I am practicing being thankful in all things (see 1 Thes 5). Transparently I am at war with being appreciative.
Chapter 13 smacks me in the face because I can’t always reconcile my actions with this set of verses. Oh, I get it theoretically. I know how to think and write about Love. It is that I also come to grips with how much I really fail.
Love isn’t the ooey-gooey thing that first comes to mind. Love has a major implication of surrender; to count others greater than yourself; to not stand up for myself (which may be indicative of a defiant attitude—maybe not, I will have to think about that some more).
What, then, is Love? I look at the list of things that describes Love and I have to think that Love is hard work. It takes effort and determination. Love is intentional—at least intentional in putting the attributes that the Holy Spirit is saying here into practice.
It is without question that Love is not practiced in seclusion. Love is practiced in community, in the interactions between people and particularly between believers and anybody else. I can’t determine if I am kind or acting patiently if I am not around other people.
In the previous chapter Paul wrote describing the Corinth Church with all the wah hoo’s and sizzle of “spiritual” things all in evidence—and rightly counts that as nothing if Love is not in place (and it wasn’t—see everything written up to this point).
I can be just like them: I can point out all the things that I do and act so spiritual—but if I don’t have Love it is nothing.
Father, You showed me this from Chuck Spurgeon: “Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance.” My goodness, does that describe me. Help me on God to embrace Love as You meant it to be. I understand that my responsibility is to press my nose to the grindstone and pursue these things all the while trusting Your promise and desire to bring them out in me. Let me be absorbed in You all my days for the rest of my days. AMEN.