“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV)
Love is not a feeling, but a decision made day by day and sometimes even minute by minute. It’s easy to attribute feelings of happiness and butterflies to those we love, but those feelings are fleeting. Only a deep-rooted love given to us by the grace of God, and exemplified through the characteristics of God in the Bible will stand the test of time. As we love truly, biblically, and like Jesus, we realize it isn’t easy, but it takes work to uphold the call to love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)
In the scripture above replace “love” and “it” with your name. Do these attributes of love ring true about you? Which parts of the scripture give you pause?
This Biblical definition of love is also the love we should expect from those who love us. Replace “love” and “it” with the name of your spouse or someone closest to you. Do these characteristics ring true? Are there any verses this person doesn’t display at all?
We must remember, no one is perfect (us included). Those we love will let us down, and we will let those we love down just the same. But, that is where we can give and receive the grace necessary to pick ourselves up and keep loving like Christ.
Day by day, minute by minute, let’s look to 1 Corinthians 13 for direction to love those around us fearlessly as God calls us to.
“Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV)