The Greatest Of These Is 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. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 

Being this is the week of Valentine’s Day and February is a month having a lot to do with love, I thought I’d take a week to just post specifically on the topic.  Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to get all touchy-feely or even stray into a discussion about romance.  Although maybe there’s an idea waiting to be blogged about at some point (working title:  A Christian’s Guide To Being Romantic, haha!).  No, today I just want to center in on love as an over-arching, all-consuming topic that guides our faith.  It’s an expression we seem to be fully lacking today as we seek to display Christ in our homes, churches, neighborhoods, jobs, and beyond. 
I love Paul’s words in the famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13.  It’s often recited at weddings and for good reason.  It holds much truth for the ensuing husbands and wives to be.  But I think it’s greater context for us as Christians is clear:  without love as our motivator in Christ, we simply become “resounding gongs and clanging cymbals.”  We just add to the noise.  Love must be evident in our thoughts, words, and actions.  Without it, what good is anything that we have to offer this world? 

What is it that drew you in initially to Jesus Christ? 

I think for me, it was a realization of my sin and my separation from God.  But immediately and almost simultaneously, it was an overwhelming awareness of Jesus’ love for me; His love displayed on a cross in which He died a death He not deserve.  To frame what love looks like one must go no further than this one great example.  Jesus’ love is the agent that heals the broken soul.  It redeems the lost child.  It pursues the one who doesn’t deserve such grace.  None of us do. 
Taking all of this into 1 Corinthians 13, it’s my understanding that Paul sees love as being something his audience didn’t fully grasp.  I don’t think our modern-day culture does either.  We see love as something exhibited with strings attached.  Sure love can be patient…but to a point.  I can show kindness, but only to those I desire to give it to.  The rest of the traits of love (not envious, not boastful, not proud, and so on) make it a standard that, on my own, I can never really attain. 

On our own, apart from Christ, we will never rightly understand love. 

It is Christ who shows us what it is to love and by reading His word, we see love in action.  We see how it is patient.  We see how it never seeks its own way.  We see how love upholds truth, even when it is unpopular.  We see love always enduring and always moving forward. 

Dear Christian brother and sister, if we can be reminded of anything this week it is this:  we are recipients of great love through Christ and with that gift comes great responsibility.  To love like Jesus.  To be patient like Him.  To wipe the slate clean with others even when it is easier to keep a scorecard.  Love would have us be our best; not because of who we are but because of Who He is. 
I don’t have as much to share this week because I want to leave this simple and practical.  I know we’ve already covered a lot of ground in 2020 and some of the topics are rather meaty and take some digesting.  So today I only want to encourage you and in so doing, I want to give a simple homework assignment (super easy, trust me!).  When we think about love, there are 2 questions we can ask on a regular basis.  I would encourage you to ask yourself these questions this week and be honest with yourself before God

- How did Christ show His love to me? 
- How am I showing His love to others? 

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and that you feel His love deeply on a daily basis.  God is love and I believe we exist because His love could not be contained to just Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It was love that drew Him to create mankind and to redeem mankind.  What a story and what truth this world needs to hear about love! 

Until next week!  I love walking the journey with you and I love you! 

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

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