Love Defined

Love Defined
I Corinthians 13: 1-8
Sis. Carolyn J. Satcher
Paul as he begins verse one was undoubtedly an eloquent speaker. Though his speech might have been eloquent like that of even an angel it would profit him nothing if love wasn’t there. He would become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.  Displays of tongues, prophetic powers, and supernatural spiritual knowledge may be impressive, but they are worthless if not used as intended by God, and not to glorify him but yourself. Selling everything to give to the poor and sacrificing one's life to be burned for the sake of others, gains a person nothing if not given in love.

When I look at Matthew the 25th chapter verses 35-40, Jesus shows us what true love is. When we are hungry, thirsty, a stranger and someone took us in, and we were in prison those that have true love did it unto him when they did it unto the least one. This shows real love by doing for others.

When I look back in the Old Testament in Exodus 20th chapter where the 10 commandments are stated they also allude to love. Having no other gods before God, means that you love him first. When you don’t steal, kill, commit adultery, covet your neighbor, or bear false witness against your neighbor that means you have love for your neighbor. Jesus said we should love the Lord thy God with all our heart, soul and mind and they neighbor as thyself.

Matthew 5:46 says:  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? What does it profit you to love only those who love you? Everyone is in need of love. We must love everyone even those that trespass against us.

Paul uses 14 verbs, actions, to describe this love. Seven are positive statements about what love does, and the other seven are negative statements about what love does not do. In all cases, true Christian love is about setting oneself aside for the good of other believers. Lack of love was at the heart of nearly all the problems Paul had confronted in this letter.

Love is patient and kind. It actively waits and actively moves for the good of others. On the other hand, love doesn't envy or boast, not even regarding the spiritual gifts of oneself or others. Love is not arrogant, convinced of one's superiority over others. Love is not rude, meaning that it does not act indecently, sinning and breaking cultural norms to bring attention to oneself. Love also means truly letting go of past hurts instead of storing them up and keeping a record of wrongs. Love refuses to take any joy or pleasure from wrongdoing. Love likes the truth. Love doesn't set limits on love. Love bears, or puts up with, all things for the good of other believers.

Love doesn't stop hoping for other believers to do good. Love doesn't quit when the trials of life pile up. Love keeps going.  In a marriage rather than seeking a divorce so quickly, couples should remember the vows they made to each other, to love one another for better or worse, through sickness and health, and try their best to apply them rather than seeking a quick resolve as divorce. No two people are always going to agree. We must learn to make compromises. That’s what love is all about. Paul sums love up: Love never fails. Christians may fail to love, as the Corinthians have clearly demonstrated, but God's kind of love will always be effective. Unlike spiritual gifts, which will no longer be needed when Christ comes, love will last forever.

Prayer: Lord we know there is nothing greater than love. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall have eternal life. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
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