Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
It was one of the most flippant marriage counseling sessions I had overheard yet. I watched Randy handle it well. As the session was coming to an end, the young bride to be brought me to full attention when she turned and asked me, “Oh, and for sure, could you read that love thingy that everyone reads at weddings?” I threw up a little in my mouth. Her words hurt my heart. Oh, how it must break God’s heart!
My heart ached for her lack of knowledge of God’s Word and His message about what His love is and does. I finally looked her in the eye with compassion and said, “You mean 1 Corinthians 13, from the Bible, known by many as the love chapter that tells us what God’s love really is and how we should love?” “Let’s read it now.” She didn’t have time. Ooh, I suggest you take time to read it carefully, to make sure it will fit the tone of your wedding program of the promises you will make in front of God. All I got was the “deer in headlights look” that most young and in love and not truly listening folks give us.
I actually didn’t say all that, just thought it. You have to bring the young and “in love” carefully along for the world has taught them a different kind of love…with conditions. What has been taught by the world is opposite of what Paul writes to the church gone wild who have forgotten their first love of Christ.
Love is not just what you do, not just a verb as others have taught. It is more than our actions and reactions to someone else’s love. Love must begin at loving God back with ALL our hearts, minds and souls and realizing the depth of love He has for each one of us.
We love each other more deeply each day as we grow in the realization of God’s love for us. I love Randy, my husband. He loves me. Our love runs deep because of our love for God first and knowledge that God deeply loves us without conditions. With our sin forgiven, our past slate wiped clean through the redemption of Jesus Christ, we are free to love like HE loves.
Now, let’s read the “love thingy” carefully and prayerfully.
1 Corinthians 13, The Message
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
THAT’S WHAT LOVE IS!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Transform me. Help me to know and trust the love you have for me so I can love others like you love…without conditions. Transform your church with this love. Transform the world. May our love never give up and continue for life eternal.
In Jesus Name, Amen