Love's a frequently discussed subject. Preachers talk about it in a
soothing voice. Parents tell children they should be gentle, or they're
not being loving. The idea seems to be that love's something soft,
causing one's heart to flutter in compassion for others. No doubt
there's truth in this, but love goes infinitely beyond. Another common
thought, is that love comes naturally. You'll have it towards those you
spend time, and have things in common with. I once said you can love
those you have nothing in common with. They can even have traits or
lifestyles you detest. They might be completely immoral people while
you're a saint, yet you can still love them. I was told, I obviously
didn't understand what love is.
These misconceptions demonstrate a worldly love. Many
Christians hold onto them after conversion. We need to rethink our
definition of love. Our understanding needs to be based on scripture.
1. Love Is A Commandment
Many feel love is something which comes and sometimes goes.
If it goes, it's gone, and you can't do a thing to change this. If this
happens in a marriage, it spells divorce. This is far from the nature
God has the fullest comprehension of love for "God is
love", 1 John 4:8.
He commands us to love:
36 Master, which is the
great commandment in the law? 37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the
first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang
all the law and the prophets.
Matthew 22:36-40 (Mark
8 Owe no man
any thing, but to love one another: for he
that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 10 Love worketh no ill to
his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 13:8,10 (John
This command to love shows us love is of such a nature it
can be ordered. This proves it isn't left to the whims and fancies of
2. Contentions & Wars
Love involves more than our likes and dislikes. Many
Christians will say they know this, but I have to ask how true that is.
Some choose the church they attend by how much they have in common with
others at that particular church. Others choose by how much of what
that church teaches is directly what they're zealous about. If they
feel the church next door is full of Christians with whom they could
fellowship, why don't they fellowship with them as well? The church in
Corinth had this type of problem:
11 For it hath been
declared unto me of you, my brethren,
by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions
among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of
Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ
divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of
1 Corinthians 1:11-13
ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you
envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are
ye not carnal?
1 Corinthians 3:3,4
Some of the Corinthians had a love for
Paul and some for
Apollos. This was a worldly love, which was nothing more than the
sinful nature with its drives and needs. Now consider these two verses
with the previous from Corinthians:
10 Only by pride cometh
contention: but with the well
advised is wisdom.
1 From whence
come wars and fightings among you? come they
not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
3. Love Your Brother
Pure Love Of God Shows
When you became a Christian, you were joined into a family
(Romans 8:14-17; 1 Corinthians 12:13,14; Matthew 12:46-50). All other
Christians became brothers and sisters. What we do to the brethren, we
do to Christ (Matthew 25:34-40). There's a love we direct to brothers
and sisters which also goes directly to Christ. Because of this, we
need to continue with fervent love towards them which comes from a
selfless heart of devotion to God.
22 Seeing ye have
purified your souls in obeying the truth
through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye
love one another with a pure heart fervently:
This true love of brethren, regardless
background, intelligence or whatever, is that one great mark of
distinction. No other group in the world has this:
10 In this the children
of God are manifest, and the
children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,
neither he that loveth not his brother.
1 John 3:10
let us love one another: for love is of God; and
every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth
not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:7,8
When it isn't found between different Christians, it's
obvious the self-seeking, sinful nature has exerted itself in some area
in one or both of the parties (Ephesians 4:3-6).
Help The Weak:
21 It is good neither to
eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor
any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made
14:21 (1 Corinthians 8:13)
1 We then
that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of
the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his
neighbour for his good to edification.
Love sets us in the place of seeking to build up others.
This passage from Romans, shows the mature should descend to help the
less mature in need. When showing a younger Christian the truth, if
he's confused as to what's right or wrong, we must remember to go to
that person with a meek spirit, remembering they're trying to please
the Lord. Arrogance can have no part in fellowship. One shouldn't
despise, but help the weaker brethren.
An important reason for Christians gathering together, is
so we can help each other grow in love. If we don't show it to each
other, we're defeating one of the main purposes for getting together:
24 And let us consider
one another to provoke unto love and
to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the
more, as ye see the day approaching.
Our focus toward each other, as
Christians, is to seek to
build up the other in the Lord. We're to seek to use what God gives us
to build others. Instead of selfish relishing of what we get, we should
lovingly seek to use it for others' benefits:
1 Be ye therefore
followers of God, as dear children; 2 And
walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for
us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but
rather that ye may prophesy. 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous
of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the
church. 26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one
of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation,
hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
1 Corinthians 14:1,12,26
Lack Of It, That Aids In Discernment:
John spoke powerfully on this. He reminds us of the man who
claims love for God. Assume he has lots of devotions, prayers,
ministries, etc., but doesn't love a particular Christian. Assume this
other Christian is one with an overinflated ego, and considers others
as less than himself. Even being like this, not loving this one shows
the first man's claimed love of God is a lie. His love would bring
obedience to God's commandment to love his brother:
20 If a man say, I love
God, and hateth his brother, he is
a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can
he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from
him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
4. Love Covers Evil
Don't let misunderstanding get in the way here. The
Christian with the ego problem is to be loved, but not the ego problem.
That's the sin of pride still in his life. We're to hate sin (Hebrews
1:9). The folly is to hate the person as if he himself was the sin. He
has been led captive by this particular sin (2 Peter 2:19; Ephesians
2:1-22). The response of love would endeavor to lead this person to a
deliverance from that sin. In your love, you would be able to separate
the sin from the individual, so you could deal in love over the issue
of the sin, which you hate. When he repents, it's as if he never
sinned, for this is the covering nature of love:
8 And above all things
have fervent charity among
yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use
hospitality one to another without grudging.
that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he
that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
5. The Love of God & The
Love of Man
There's a good love and a bad love. The good love is of God
(1 John 2:15-17). It's self-sacrificing, and follows righteousness. It
governs all areas of our life, and keeps our needs and drives under
divine guidance, so they're righteous (1 Corinthians 13:5).
The bad love is where needs and drives are out from under
God's divine hand (2 Timothy 4:10). It seeks self and becomes
self-fulfilling, instead of self-sacrificing. Perversion can take
place, so natural affection ends up following every sort of immorality
(Romans 1:21-32). Even what appears good, is done for selfish reasons
when it's boiled down.
15 Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the
1 John 2:15,16
The tainted love of man can't properly mix with God's pure,
24 No man can serve two masters: for
either he will hate
the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and
despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
If our love of God is true, we'll see to it our worldly
love is recognized and dealt with. To fail in this, is to try to love
God and the world. The two won't mix, and the love will end up being
only the world's.
God's Love Comes Only From
It's impossible for anyone to have the love of God apart
from God. It's even incomprehensible (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). This is
why the unsaved person can't accept it, other than on the basis of
folly. This divine love can only come by the Holy Spirit:
16 That he would grant
you, according to the riches of his
glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted
and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what
is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the
love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with
all the fulness of God.
It's imperative we come under complete
subjection to God,
to possess this love.
5 Casting down
imaginations, and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10:5
Except it come from Him, we can't do a
thing. It would be
impossible to obey His command to love:
4 Abide in me, and I in
you. As the branch cannot bear
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye
abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in
me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye
can do nothing.
When we come under His love, and it flows through us, there
will be times when those, not under His love, will speak against our
actions of love. Their murmuring won't, however, deter us from the
good, due to the self-sacrificing nature of love. We would seek to help
the one in need before we would consider the slander that would be cast
at us. Jesus did:
7 And when they saw it,
they all murmured, saying, That he
was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
6. Self-Sacrifice Is
Another Word For Love
We live in an age of grace. Before Christ's first coming,
man lived in an age of law (Galatians 4:1-7). What this meant, was that
man was to require the letter of the law of God to be carried out.
Judgment and justice were the words. Now, being under grace, we're to
live the example of grace. This means that when we're wronged, we're to
forgive the wrong as the wrongs we had committed were forgiven us. This
is the point Christ starts with here:
38 Ye have heard that it
hath been said, An eye for an eye,
and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not
evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him
the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take
away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall
compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh
thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43 Ye
have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and
hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children
of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the
evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do
ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore
perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:38-48 (Luke
From verses 38-44, Christ taught how
we're to show His
grace and love. Jesus also made reference to the limited natural
affections the unregenerated have, verses 46, 47.
An early saint also left us a good example of the heart of
grace in his dying words:
59 And they stoned
Stephen, calling upon God, and saying,
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a
loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had
said this, he fell asleep.
A demonstration of God's completely sacrificial love, that
went to those whose ways are those He hates, is seen in Romans:
8 But God commendeth his
love toward us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
There's an attitude that's most prevalent. This is one of
"standing for my rights!" We often feel that if someone does something
to us that's inconsiderate or wrong, we have the right to make a big
stink about it. We think in essence, "Just who does he think he is?!"
This attitude is understandable, but for the Christian, it's not right.
It maybe something as small as the neighbor sending his dogs over to
mess on your lawn. It could be that you work in an office, and a
promotion is given to someone else, who gets it through dishonesty. The
Christian response is to submit to that person who's now over us, and
even endeavor to help him or her. What we usually end up doing is
backbiting, slandering and complaining about that person. At the least,
we maintain a deep abiding hate of that person. This takes us back to
the beatitudes in Matthew 5:38- 48 (quoted above).
Many Christians concede to the fact they're not to take
other Christians to court (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). Unfortunately, their
conforming to this demand is legalistic conformity, not a love led,
Spirit filled walk. If some corporation, or unsaved individual, does
something evil to them, they snap to attention with the all out goal of
suing them or even picketing. They might say to justify themselves,
"The Bible doesn't forbid suing non-Christians, does it?", and kind of
nod their heads with an "I thought not". Their thought lies in that
familiar passage on suing found in Corinthians. They don't try to
search the Bible to find passages such as those in I Thessalonians:
15 See that none render
evil for evil unto any man; but
ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
Doing good is what we're directed to in 1 John:
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not
yourselves, but rather give
place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay,
saith the Lord. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
18 My little children,
let us not love in word, neither in
tongue; but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18
There are circumstances where suing would be right, but the
lust for vengeance and the hope of wealth wouldn't be present in these
necessary circumstances. Such a circumstance could be malpractice of a
doctor where your taking action would help save the same from happening
to other victims, or provide for the need of you or your child to
compensate for the abusive service.
Our Christianity sometimes leaves us when it means we can
get a good deal. Instead of doing to others as we would have them do
unto us, we excuse ourselves with the thought, "If they're not smart
enough to make sure they don't accidentally let something of value go
for nought, or next to it, they deserve what they get." The "do unto
others" rule would teach us to not take advantage of a person's
mistakes, and encourage us to mercy.
In going all out for God, being wary of false doctrines,
and trying to obtain all He has and desires for us, we may forget a
most important place to show love. I've noticed preachers attempting to
imitate other preachers, declaring their opposing view. They imitate
them in a mocking voice, which has the effect of belittling the other
minister of God. If someone of that opposing view were to listen, that
belittling and mocking manner would most certainly not touch their
heart, causing them to seek honestly in God's Word. He rather creates a
larger barrier through lack of love for the other person, if indeed
it's the other person who's deceived. This failure of love can be very
damaging if not, most unnecessarily, schismatic as well. It's God's
goodness that brings us to the light of repentance, not that which
springs from a lack of love:
4 Or despisest thou the
riches of his goodness and
forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance?
This whole problem springs from pride of our knowledge and
disdainment of their supposed lack of knowledge, the opposite of
Two good passages to keep in mind are:
8 Finally, be ye all of
one mind, having compassion one of
another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering
evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing;
knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a
blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him
refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue
1 Peter 3:8-11
on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved,
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,
longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if
any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also
do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond
Our ways should be that of looking low. When we look to the
high and strong people, we become proud and compare ourselves to
others. We fight and scratch to the top. We see men instead of Christ
and seek to build up self instead of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:12-18).
When we look back, we despise those behind us and those who weren't
able to follow us in the faith:
17 And if
some of the branches be broken off, and thou,
being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them
partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not
against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but
the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off,
that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were
broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also
spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God:
on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou
continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And
they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in:
for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of
the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to
nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the
natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
A warning to heed is given in Romans:
3 For I say, through the
grace given unto me, to every man
that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to
think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man
the measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 (James
kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly
love; in honour preferring one another; . . . 13a Distributing to the
necessity of saints; . . . 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless,
and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them
that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high
things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own
conceits. 17a Recompense to no man evil for evil. . .
Romans 12:10, 13a, 14-17a
The way of looking low, values the other's desires and
needs above our own (verse 10). We support fellow Christians in need as
we're able, verse 13a.
44 And all that believed
were together, and had all things
common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all
men, as every man had need.
Acts 2:44, 45
This would also remove the state of receivers as being
looked down upon for receiving. There wouldn't be giving with the
wondering in the back of our heart of, "Will I get it back?" The
looking low is the same way God looks at us in our sinful nature, and
descends to meet our needs. There's a word for that: Mercy.
7. Mercy Is A Manifestation of
This great mercy, a love which reaches so deep and grasps
so wide, is told to Peter:
21 Then came Peter to
him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my
brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus
saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until
seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21,22 (Luke 17:3,4)
We receive this great mercy from God and
we think - WOW!
Note, however, that this verse is telling Christians what they're to
do. This kind of love and ability comes only from God. By allowing God
to live this through us, we get the promise of receiving it in turn:
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." "Do unto
10 A righteous man
regardeth the life of his beast: but the
tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
This manifestation of love goes out in every area and to
all life. A man who's cruel to animals or hates them, must be seriously
frowned upon in any declarations he makes to love in any other way.
Check the fruit.
8. Love Is An Ingredient In
Meekness Looks To Others:
Meekness is a special state of heart which comes from two
major sources. One is from seeing our state before God, and
comprehending our own humanity. (This is further discussed in the
lesson entitled, "Wisdom" - James 3:13). The other comes from love both
toward God and toward men:
1 If there be therefore
any consolation in Christ, if any
comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and
mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same
love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through
strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other
better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but
every man also on the things of others.
From verse 3, we see the meek as valuing
others more than
themselves. The only way one will ever do this, is through love. This
means self-sacrifice, to sacrifice our own comfort for another.
1 I therefore, the
prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that
ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all
lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in
love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
When our heart and responses are
directed outward to others
with true meekness, the result will be regarding others in a state of
Rebuke Guided By Meekness:
1 Brethren, if a man be
overtaken in a fault, ye which are
spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering
thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens,
and so fulfil the law of Christ.
We're to deal with sin when it's present in the body. There
are two factors in play. One, we hate sin. The other, we love the
individual who's caught in sin. We also realize we're prone to sin.
This being the case, the love mixed with knowing ourselves, brings us
into a state of meekness when dealing with someone. This combination
brings out, and demonstrates, love in a magnified way. It helps prove
the genuineness of our love. What provokes the discipline of sin, is
love as seen in Proverbs:
24 He that spareth his rod hateth
his son: but he that
loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
From the view of the person receiving
discipline, the love
and meekness isn't always seen, as Paul indicated in Corinthians. If
this particular manifestation of love is violently rejected with the
claim of your lacking love, remember this:
21 What will ye? shall I
come unto you with a rod, or in
love, and in the spirit of meekness?
1 Corinthians 4:21 (2 Corinthians 13:10)
9. Love Gets Tough Sometimes
Wounds Of Love:
Love isn't always gentle. Gentleness at the wrong time, is
lack of love. This may prove the love to be selfish and worldly. One
which doesn't dare risk itself for the other's ultimate good. It fears
losing the love of the loved one, so doesn't rock the boat. This kind
of love would see the other one destroyed, to save itself. The
disciplines of love seek to help:
6 Faithful are the wounds
of a friend; but the kisses of an
enemy are deceitful.
The love of God manifests itself in
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
every son whom he receiveth.
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was
inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive
him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up
with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm
your love toward him. 9 For to this end also did I write, that I might
know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10 To whom
ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to
whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of
2 Corinthians 2:6-11
We see from this in Corinthians, the tough treatment they
showed an individual was from a heart of love.
Love isn't without prerequisites. True God-like love
doesn't just love everything, and it's not considerate to all people.
This may sound shocking to you, but the scriptures show it:
34 Think not that I am
come to send peace on earth: I came
not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at
variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and
the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes
shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother
more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter
more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his
life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find
Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou
that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But
he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not
planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders
of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the
Don't use these passages to excuse undue rudeness or
hostility, but don't neglect their lessons either. God-like love will
show devotion to God first, then others. Those who love the world will
hate the ways of God, even though they may claim otherwise, like the
Pharisees. God's love won't show consideration of sin, especially in
those who claim to be His servants. There is, in love, a priority,
which if confronted with someone of another priority, will result in
hostility. Either way you go, the world's love or God's, there will be
Beware of the world's lie. It's called "compromise": You
agree to disagree, and go arm in arm in harmony.
You think you've found a meeting ground. What you've done
in reality, is returned to the world's love which is always soft with
no rebuke. It chooses to fellowship with sin, it doesn't seek God
first, but itself. Thus, Satan has claimed another victim, and you
won't offend in your love.
10. The Love Chapter
1 Though I speak with the
tongues of men and of angels, and
have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries,
and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove
mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow
all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,
and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth
long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is
not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things,
hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but
whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues,
they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is
perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When
I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought
as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For
now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know
in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now
abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
This is the great chapter on love. It's such a magnificent
chapter I could hardly make a comment on it that would do it justice.
It points out the greatest thing in all the Christian walk, the most
splendid thing to be sought after and most enduring, which will take
you the farthest, even over faith and hope, is love itself.
A friend told me of a promise his mother requested of him.
She asked him to daily read the thirteenth chapter of Corinthians for a
week. He told me the reading of this chapter changed his life. Give the
Spirit of God a chance, and He can accomplish great things.
11. Finding Fulfillment in Love
Love isn't merely doctrine to be grasped and looked at.
With doctrines we may think, "Well, this is interesting." The issue of
love is a matter of life, in its fullest sense. As long as there's room
for growth or development of anything in our lives, there's room for
improvement in our love.
Love's a two way street. We almost always seem to think
about the giving when we ruminate on love. The receiving of love also
has complexities. We need companionship and love, but find friend's
love has limits. This leaves us with a lack of fulfillment. The only
place to have fulfilled relationships is in Christ. When we seek Him
first, his love is able to flow through us, which is perfect love. When
we meet people who do such, we meet a perfect and fulfilling love.
There's more though.
To meet love directed towards you, in someone else, versus
the love towards you from God directly, are different matters. We'll
never find fulfilling love in man alone, even in a Christ-centered
person. To be fulfilled, we need to keep God's companionship
continually. While knowing Him in a loving relationship with others,
(or the lack of others) we're able to be satisfied, since we have all
we need in Him (Philippians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:9,10; John 15:1-
12. Questions to Ponder
a) If someone does
something offensive, whose well being do you look to
first, your own or the offender's? If you say the offender, how do you
feel about giving love, when you feel you've been slighted? Is this
then true love?
b) Do you find
delight in things that put down others? (Polish jokes?)
c) What's your
attitude toward someone who doesn't want to do something
you do, because they fear it may be evil? (Example: some don't
celebrate Christmas because of pagan ties.)
d) Suppose you
fellowship with a brother or sister who is certain
something you're doing is a sin, and they tell you so. Is your attitude
one of, "Get off my back or get out of my life" or "God, help me, if
I'm wrong, show me, if not, show my brother/sister"?