And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:13)
Today is Valentine’s Day. I was just on Facebook and there are thousands of people declaring their love for their spouses, their children and each other. It’s a sweet day. It seems like today most everyone is willing to say to at least someone … “I love you.” Chocolates and roses and special cards are being exchanged today. Love is in the air … as the old song states.
In 1 Corinthians 13, called The Love Chapter, Paul talks about love. He has written a letter to the church in Corinth, giving them instruction and encouragement on their journey with Jesus. They are a lot like we are today, wanting to do right, but somewhat confused on how to stay on track. As a result they dealt with problems like immaturity, instability, divisions, jealousy, envy, lawsuits, marital problems, sexual immorality and the misuse of spiritual gifts. Sound familiar?
But Paul doesn’t beat them up, he simply writes a letter to encourage them and help them get back on track. And in the midst of that letter, he shares with them that no matter how great they think they are or what wonderful things they do, if they were not motivated by love, it means nothing. He explains that love is the most excellent way. He goes on to share that:
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. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-8).
At the Last Supper, the night before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34,35)
If we are followers of Jesus, we must love one another. We are to be love. It wasn’t a suggestion. He told them it was actually a new commandment. So now, go back to theLove is section above and replace love with your name. Are you patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered. Do you not keep records of wrongs? Do you not delight in evil but rejoice in truth? Do you protect? Do you hope? Do you persevere? Are you unfailing? Do you love? Ouch …not so easy is it?
I want to be like Paul. I don’t want you to feel beat up if you fail in some areas, because we all fall short, but rather do this exercise to take inventory, see what needs some work. I encourage you to seek God in the areas that you struggle with, release them to him and let him fill you with His love, which will then overflow from you into those around you!