1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Some believe it is beheld in the eyes of their beloved. A boyfriend or girlfriend, a spouse, and our children can be the object of our love, yet do we truly understand what true love really is?
We all want love.
We all need love.
As stated yesterday, it is one of man’s most fundamental needs. Some grow up in homes devoid of love. Others experienced expressions of love that do not line up with God’s Word. The only example of true love can only be seen in God’s children.
True love, or better stated, agape love, unconditional love, can only come from God.
It is not some state we can reach through practice or experience.
It is not something we possess.
Only God can love another unconditionally through us.
The attributes of true love in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is oft-quoted at weddings and set as the standard for how a child of God is to love.
We all know varying ways to demonstrate love to someone. But without charity, it is shallow, hollow, and seen as a chore and our duty instead of an act motivated by true love.
Many of us know the commands of God enough to do that which we are told. But here, God tells us that if we do it without the love that only He can provide, it sounds hollow, falls flat, and means nothing.
It is like that couple married many years that say, “I love you,” and still hold grudges, fight, bicker, and complain about the other. That is not love. Yet, they say it out of habit.
A parent says, “I love you” to a child, then proceeds to tear down their integrity through criticism and demeaning language.
True love dwells in the heart of those who can set aside their prejudices, preferences, and opinions enough to “walk a mile in another’s shoes.” Case in point.
When we hear of a situation of extreme abuse, human nature tends to side with the victim. In so doing, we vilify the abuser and immediately condemn them. I am NOT condoning what they have done.
But, if God can forgive ALL sin but one (the sin of unbelief), then the abuser, the murderer, the thief, the criminal can all receive forgiveness, right?
We all think our love is real and our motives pure until put into situations and circumstances that require God’s love. God calls us out with regards to our loving one another.
Matthew 5:44-46 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”
Indeed, it is easy for us to love those who love us in return. To love our enemies, those who have hurt us, damaged our reputation, offended us, gossiped about us to others, and abused us, can seem an impossible request. Yet, we are commanded by our loving Heavenly Father to love them.
True love is not something we can fake. The fruit of our love or lack thereof will reveal itself over time. When asked, “Do you love God?” we answer in the affirmative. But our behavior exposes us to be fake and a fraud.
1 John 4:20 “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
What this world needs is an example of true love. That can only come from God’s children.
When our voices side with the critic, the gossip, and we talk more of hatred than love, who can blame the lost for our hypocrisy?
God never left us to love as He commanded with what we can do in our own power. What He commands, he enables.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”
Never say, “I can’t” until you allow the God of Heaven to love through you. It may not be easy, but it is indeed not impossible.
Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”