It’s ALL about LOVE: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13:4-8, 13)
To the Corinthian believers who were impatient, discontented, envious, inflated, selfish, unmindful of the feelings and interests of others, suspicious and resentful, Apostle Paul writes this beautiful treatise on love, which stands out as a literary gem of the New Testament. The believers had spiritual gifts, but they lacked spiritual graces and needed to be reminded why love is so important in the Christian life.
The attributes of true agape love is not described by feelings but in action items, listed below:
- Does not rival for attention (“envy”)
- Does not brag on itself (“parade”)
- Does not inflate its self-view (“puffed up”)
- Does not tread on another’s feelings (“rude”)
- Does not take another’s things (“seek its own”)
- Does not take offense easily (“provoked”)
- Does not keep a record of wrongs suffered (“no evil”)
- Does not make unrighteousness its object of rejoicing (“rejoice in iniquity”)
- Does celebrate others’ achievements in righteousness (“rejoices in the truth”)
- Does keep all things in confidence (“bears all things”)
- Does know what God can do (“believes all things”)
- Does hold out holy ambitions for others to achieve (“hopes all things”)
- Does survive under every condition (“endures all things”)
Love is the greatest of the graces because it is most useful to others. It is not self-centered but others-centered. Its clearest expression can be seen on Golgotha’s hill. This is the kind of love that God shows to us. Love alone is eternal, for God is love (1 John 4:8). D. L. Moody has once said: “God hates the great things in which love is not the motive power; but He delights in the little things that are prompted by a feeling of love.”
If we practice love, it will save us from the misuse of gifts and from the strife and divisions that have arisen as a result of their abuse. We can grow in love through the following three ways:
- Ponder God’s love in Christ as we reflect on how Jesus gave His life for us.
- Pray for the love of God by asking God to give an understanding of His love and to teach us how to live that love in our relationships.
- Practice the love of God by giving ourselves to love others. As the love of God grows in us, His love will flow out to others around us as well.