1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Thoughts from Pastor Josh
Behind the Scenes
A lot of advice and opinions exist in the world today about love, but what does the Bible say about this topic? In this section of a letter to the Corinthian church, Paul outlines what love looks like from God’s perspective. Paul wrote this letter to offer guidance to the church in Corinth. To make a long story short, the Corinthian church could be described in today’s terms as a big hot mess. A lot of strife and sin and especially sexual sin existed in that church. Paul heard about the church’s problems and wrote this letter to give them counsel.
In one section, Paul wrote about the spiritual gifts God gives Christians and explained that these gifts were given not for individual benefit but so they can be used to serve the church body. He then moves into chapter 13 where he stresses that these gifts, awesome as they may be, must be used in love or they are useless in serving the kingdom of God. Love is a foundation of the Christian life but today’s world, just like the ancient city of Corinth, often has a warped vision of love rooted in self-interest. From these verses, we learn several things about God’s definition of love. There is no envy or resentment in God’s love. There is no rudeness or arrogance in God’s love. Love rejoices in truth and never takes joy at any wrongdoing. In summary, love is selfless and pure. And it lasts forever. Who would not want to be loved this way?
Make it Real
As humans, we have different experiences with love. Some have had incredibly positive relationships that exhibit many of the traits of love as described by Paul. Others may have experienced bad relationships where love was non-existent or even abusive. They wonder if true love exists.
If we are totally honest, humans fail at love at least part of the time, even in strong relationships. It is so easy for selfishness and envy to creep into a relationship. Who has not been irritable with a loved one? Sometimes the failure is small, such as an angry word or a slammed door. Sometimes the failure is great: an illicit relationship, abandonment, betrayal, abuse. Maybe you don’t have a relationship you want, and you despair of ever finding someone to love. Love can feel crappy at times.
When these times of life hit, it is good to remember that true, holy, pure love does exist. It exists for the single looking for a mate, the lonely mother recovering from a divorce, for the soldier who serves nobly but avoids close relationships, for the elder who lives alone, and for anyone needing and looking for love. God is pure love. His son, Jesus, left heaven and came to earth where he died for us all. His love is freely offered to us. And it will never abandon us. May God bless us all with good healthy human relationships but no matter our present circumstance, let us feel the pure love of Jesus Christ. He is there for you today. Pray to him.
End in Prayer
No matter my feelings at the moment, you love me and you walk beside me through this life. Your Spirit fills me and guides me. You came from heaven and died for me. Help me remember this when I feel lonely, betrayed, or grieved. Help me remember this when I feel envious, irritable, and selfish. Fill me with this love and let this love spill out of me and into the world.
Thank you for your love, Amen.