Love is… (Part 1)
What does it mean to love? How do we know we are truly loving each other according to God’s will? Are there perhaps some aspects we are missing out in our ‘love’?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
God teaches us that love is patient. Do you tend to get angry easily? Irritated by the many things that perhaps shouldn’t matter? Then what about people who offend you or who provoke you? How do you tend to feel towards them? God wants us to not be filled with resentment and anger, but to love by bearing with the slights and offences from others, and wait and believe that such patience towards them shall bear fruits.
Love is kind. Being kind is to be courteous and always willing to do good to others. Such love is ready to do favors and not only seizes opportunities to do so, but searches intentionally for them. Kindness is expressed through both actions and words. Do we put others down with sharp words when they fail us or do we sometimes use harsh words because we regard ourselves more superior than others? Or do we lift and build others up with encouraging words? We ought to always consider before we speak and say to others what will benefit them.
Love does not envy. It is not discontented at the good of others, their gifts or their possessions. Love shares the joy of what others have accomplished instead of being displeased with it. When we truly love as God instructs, other people’s prosperity and good news should never cause resentment in our hearts, but cause us to rejoice and celebrate with them.
Love is not prideful. It is not self-glorifying and is not bloated with self-conceit. Moreover, it does not claim the honor, or power, or respect, which does not belong to oneself. Love is not insolent towards others, does not despise others, and it does not trample over others. Those who have true love in them will do nothing out of a spirit of contention, but in humility count others as more significant than themselves (Philippians 2:3). The love that God teaches us to have and show is based upon the principle of selflessness, seeking out the best interest of others. It is not about what we want, or what they want, but love is about bringing out God’s best in others.
Love is not arrogant or rude. It always treats others with reverence, respect, kindness and courtesy, regardless of their rank or position in life. Love never gloats over being more superior than others and puffs oneself up. Instead, love understands that no matter how different others can be from us, they deserve our humble respect.
A great enemy to love is selfishness. Love does not seek its own good, nor desire its own praise, or honor, or profit, or pleasure. It does not demand that its desires and preferences be always fulfilled, without sparing a thought for others. Instead, love often neglects its own for the sake of others; it prefers their welfare and advantage to its own. It would never gratify itself at the cost of others.
Just as God loves us deeply and unconditionally, let it be our desire to live out this love that He has taught us, so that the people around us may experience the love of Jesus through our lives.
Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for teaching me true love, love that is different from what the world says it should be. Lead me to live out such love every day, and mold me to become more like You, Jesus. I give thanks that I am able to love because You first loved me. Thank You for showing me the greatest love of all when You died for me on the Cross. I want to love others like how You love me. God, let Your Word not just enter my mind but sink into my heart. Let Your Word stir in my heart a great passion to love You more and more each day, and to show Your love to those around me. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”