Love is a word we hear daily in all sorts of contexts. You love your pet, and you love your family. You may also love Coffee Cake and your favorite restaurant. Falling in love is something we constantly see on TV and in movies. There’s even an entire day dedicated to love in February—but what does love really mean in a Biblical sense and to us as Christians? How does Jesus call us to act with love?
To answer these questions, our new blog series “Love Is…” will take a look at God’s beautiful truth in 1 Corinthians 13 that highlights the qualities of Christ-like love.
Fortunately, the Bible has many examples of how we should display love. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing to the Corinthians, because they were misusing their own spiritual gifts. He was teaching the people of Corinth that love is truly an action, rather than an abstract idea. We see this truth illustrated in the word “agape,” used in the Bible to mean “selfless love” or “love acts.” Paul breaks down this unselfish love we must actively exhibit to love others well.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
1 Corinthians 13:4
1) Love is patient. Patience exemplifies God’s attitude towards us as His children. He is patient even when we are slow to come to Him in repentance (2 Peter 3:9) or ask Him for guidance. As we continue to grow with the Lord and are reminded that we are indeed sinful by nature, we must be patient with others in the same way we would want them to be patient with us. Next time you are struggling to love someone remember that we all have shortcomings, and love with patience.
2) Love is kind. Kindness doesn’t mean always telling others what they want to hear, but it does mean approaching all situations with gentleness and a willingness to listen to others. To love others with kindness, we must look out for the best interests of others, without using harsh words or a rash manner. The essence Christ-like love is centered around speaking truth and acting in love. It pleases the heart of God when we treat everyone we meet with kindness, value and honor, no matter how different they may be than us.
3) Love is not jealous. Jealousy is part of being a human, and it can often bring out the worst in us— but there is no room for jealousy when loving others like Christ. Next time you feel yourself becoming envious of another person, pray for that person instead. What a way to show that love is more powerful than feelings of jealousy! We must strive to put jealousy aside when loving others.
4) Love does not boast and is not proud. We all have been given gifts and talents that should be used to glorify the Lord, but when we begin to brag about those gifts we lose sight of Who blessed us with those abilities in the first place. As we seek and pursue the Lord more passionately, we must love others by seeing everyone as a beautiful creation with a specific purpose. To love without boasting, we always remember that God created us all in His image, and none of His children are more worthy than another.
Even the foundational truth behind I’m Third in Luke 10:27 is centered around the word love— loving Christ with all of your heart and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. We can recall Paul’s words to the Corinthians to remember what true, Christ-like love really is: patient, kind, lacking jealously and never boasting or acting proud.
Reflect on the truths found in 1 Corinthians 13:4 this week to love others as Christ does!