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 the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends…
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13)
These beautiful words, which we so often equate with weddings and marriages, are meant to transcend all of our relationships.
The Apostle Paul wrote these powerful passages to the Corinthian Church, which was struggling to live in some semblance of community. In other words, they were behaving poorly: acting in the flesh, jockeying for position and prominence, asserting themselves at the expense of others, and inflating the value of their own spiritual gifts over another. It had the makings of a disaster, creating broken relationships and schisms within their church community.
It never works when we operate in the flesh... And, please don’t ask how this girl knows…Sigh!
Just like the Corinthians, we’re not capable in our own strength of the kind of love that is beautifully portrayed in verses 4-7. These verses describe the highest form of love, agape love, which was demonstrated first by God through the offering of His son Jesus Christ.
Today, take a few quiet moments and follow the suggestion of Keith Krell, pastor and professor at Moody Bible Institute-Spokane, “If you go back through these verses and everywhere you find the word “love” substitute the word “Christ,” all these statements will still be true.”
Jesus’ love is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. He loves us with this amazing agape love. Our human love can’t go the distance in demonstrating this kind of love in any of our relationships, including with God.
Admittedly, I can’t wholly and completely love God because of my brokenness. I earnestly need Him to give me the capacity to love Him with all my heart. My human heart is far too fickle, petty, selfish, and prone to stray. Sadly, my humanity affects my other relationships, too. It breaks my heart, but I don’t always love well.
Sisters, our only hope of loving well is to fully abide in Christ. His love transforms our love. And then we can be earthen vessels of His agape love… “We love because He first loved us” (1John 4:19).