“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:2-8 NASB)
On the surface, this scripture is instruction for us, as Christ-Followers on how to live our lives as believers. However, this scripture tell us the true character of God. When we are truly born-again into God’s Kingdom realm, our transformation begins. This transformation is at its core, in this scripture. We are to love God, love others and bear much fruit for His Kingdom. This is a journey that we begin at our second birth and it does take a life-time, yet in cultivating the character of God, we are able to show His true nature to the world around us. How can people not want Him if He is represented this way?
There is a place in the heart of every person that is reserved for God alone. Nothing can fill it but Him. People try to fill it with all kinds of things, but nothing “fits” in this place. I call it the “God Spot.” The God Spot is filled with Him at our second birth. This makes us different than those who are not filled. We are peculiar. It’s noticeable, or at least it should be noticeable.
Even though our God spot is filled, we still have a “flesh” problem. The task of putting our flesh under the control of the Holy Spirit begins and thus begins the war between our spirit-man and our flesh-man. Some people never win this battle, but many do. It just takes diligence and determination.
How is God’s character represented in this scripture? First, God is love. He is Agape Love and He sheds abroad in our hearts this love at our second birth. “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NASB) It is the Holy Spirit Who brings us this love, but we have to develop it through obedience to the Word of God. We must cultivate it. Let’s look at God’s character through this scripture.
Love is patient ~ God is VERY patient! Where would we be without His patience with us? 2 Peter 3:9 says “The LORD is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” He does not get frustrated at the amount of flesh we exhibit to the world around us. Instead, He looks at how we OUGHT to be. He sees the finished product, not the lump of unformed clay. We need to look at people the way He does. The finished product instead of the clay.
Love is kind ~ God is noted for His lovingkindnesses towards us! It’s who He is. His compassions fail not. He is so kind-hearted and warm. Psalm 63:3 says “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.” God is never put upon when it comes to man. His love is so great towards us. He is always ready to listen and to help when we ask in faith. The next time we have an opportunity to be frustrated or kind, let’s determine to be kind. Kindness in the face of rudeness always make an impact on the other person. Who knows but that God will use your act of kindness as a seed in that life?
Love is Not Prideful or Arrogant ~ There is a difference in knowing who you are and pretending to be someone you aren’t. Pride is really fear at the root of it. There is no fear in God. He has no need to boast or be arrogant. He knows His majesty and power. The Bible says that “perfect love casts out fear,” so there is no way that God is proud and arrogant. In fact, James 4:6 says “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” People fall victim to pride and arrogance because of fear of other’s opinions. That is one thing that marks Jesus Christ, He was completely unafraid of the opinions of others concerning Him. We need to get over ourselves because when we get over ourselves, no one can offend us or hurt us because God’s love reigns in our hearts.
Love is not rude or act unbecomingly ~ God is not this way. In fact, even in His judgment, He always seeks to find a way to be merciful. At the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, He told Abraham about it because He knew that Abraham would intercede for the city. He was willing to spare the city for ten righteous people, but there weren’t even ten. Mercy cannot be rude. When our hearts are full of mercy, we can look at the rude store clerk or bank teller and pray for them to have a better day. The rest of the world, especially these days, is so easily offended and throw temper tantrums at the drop of a hat. We should never be among that number! Our love walk should exhibit God’s character and that makes our light shine even brighter in this dark world.
Love does not seek it’s own way or easily provoked ~ If you look at the life of Jesus, He always put others’ before Himself. His whole agenda revolved around the redemption of mankind. Part of putting our flesh down is letting go of selfishness and preferring the other person over ourselves. This is very hard because the fallen nature of man naturally is self absorbed. We are self-conscious and full of self-preservation. I saw this during the pandemic when people were hoarding all the toilet paper. Leaving nothing for another person. Seeking their own preservation. How many people today get offended at children’s books names or syrup labels? That is easily offended or easily provoked. Christ-Followers should never be among this number!
Love Pays no attention to a suffered wrong ~ Even when we have just cause to be offended, God’s love pays no attention to it. Look at Jesus’ attitude on the Cross as He was dying. Luke 23:34 says “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Love in the face of hatred is the brightest light you will ever shine and it brings God great glory for you to do so. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and do good to those who hate us and despitefully use us. It is illegal in God’s Kingdom realm to be offended. Offense is a favorite tool of Satan and he has ensnared and shipwrecked many people who begin to follow Jesus but refused to let go of offenses.
Love does not rejoice at unrighteousness but rejoices in the Truth ~ God is a righteous and holy God. He cannot be otherwise. His delight is in those who are righteous and seeking to walk in His ways. Agape love is grieved at unrighteousness and prays for those caught in it. Agape love will always speak the Truth of God’s Word to those caught in unrighteousness. Jesus did that all the time. He infuriated the religious people but He refuse to not speak the truth. They killed Him for it. We too must be as fearless as our Master when telling people the hard truths sometimes. Who knows but our love of truth might snatch them from the fires of Hell?
Love bears all things ~ Jesus said to cast our cares upon God because He cares for us. He bears with our immaturity, our flesh problems. He always believes the best of us. He looks past our current state and looks to our full maturity in Him! So too, we must bear one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults. This is a mark that Christians should exhibit to the world around us. How many of us Christ-Followers have joined a “Christian” group on Facebook, only to see that those there are no different than the rest of the world in their rudeness, bullying and hatefulness? This should not be and Satan just laughs and laughs that he has successfully stopped the transformation of these people into the image of Jesus. They are in his image instead.
Love believes all things ~ Love believes the best of everyone and every situation. Love says the glass is half-full instead of half-empty. Love is positive not negative. In watching the series The Chosen, I notice in Jesus’ selection of His disciples, that He did not look at their current state. He looked at their hearts and chose them because of WHO THEY WOULD BECOME. We too must look at each other and everyone the way that God looks at them. What they are today does not define who they will be in the end!
Love hopes all things ~ Hope is the beginning of faith. It is the things we dream about and hope for that when we ask God to get involved becomes our reality. Love looks at the impossibly lost family member with eyes of faith that they will come into the Kingdom. It was God’s love of man that inspired Him to create us in the first place. It was His great love and hope of our redemption that caused Him to become the Lamb of God for us. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was slain from the foundation of the world. It was already decided before man was even created.
Love endures all things ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 says “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and the Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, for consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Jesus Christ does not require us to do something that He Himself has not already done as an example. Yes, it’s tough to love some people, it’s tough to turn the other cheek, it’s tough to forgive grievous offenses and injustices, but we must if we are to finish our race and not become shipwrecked.
John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ The lost of the world will never know the true character of God if WE don’t show them by our love for one another. This is the living testimony of each believer. What is your testimony going to show the world around you? Let your life be an exhibition of God’s character and He will draw all men to Himself through YOU…
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