At the start of this year I felt inspired to make LOVE my key word for 2015. I was reading through the New Testament and came across that wonderful (granted very convicting) passage in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.
You know the one…
The one that implies, “Oh, bless your heart, you thought you had this…no, no, no dear...real love looks like this.”
The Message version reads:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Yep. That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?
If you’re like me, you fall short here. I like to think I’m a good person. I trust God, try to remain optimistic in the face of adversity, make a point to do things for others, and generally consider myself compassionate and giving. I like to believe that I follow Christ’s example, for the most part. But, to be perfectly honest, when I compare myself against this passage…well, let’s just say it’s not pretty!
Paul’s words shine a spotlight over all my warts and flaws; revealing resentment, jealousy, bitterness, and pride. Each time I read this scripture I feel convicted and challenged as a believer. I can say and do many great things for God, but what matters most to him is the condition of my heart.
The same is true for you.
Love must be sincere. If we set our hearts on genuinely loving God and others (not just today, but every day) we’ll please God and accomplish more than we can hope or imagine.
It won’t be easy. It is a challenge, but it will be worth all the effort when we stand before The Lord. I want him to say, “Well done”…don’t you?
Prayer: Lord, help me be a conduit of your love, mercy, and grace. In Jesus name.
Further Study: 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 22:36-40, Romans 13:8, Leviticus 19:18
Share Your Story: I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you’ve grown as a believer in the area of love? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and how have you learned to overcome them? Post your comments below, or subscribe to my blog and message me directly (Comments may be used in future posts throughout February).