This Day in History: 0000-07-13

July 13 – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 

Yesterday we looked at the beginning of this chapter and discovered that according to God, there isn’t much in this life worth doing if it’s not marked by love. He is the embodiment of love, and He expects that attribute to spill out onto His children. But what exactly does love look like when it’s defined by God?  

Good news, friends! The Bible spells it out about as plainly as possible. Here is what love is, and what it is not, what it does, and what it does not do: 

Love is: 

Patient – Willing to put up with delays, problems, or unexpected circumstances, without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Kind – Friendly, generous, understanding, and considerate in nature.
Always hopeful – Optimistic about future events. 

Love is not: 

Jealous – Envious of someone’s achievements and advantages, or unjustly suspicious of someone’s faithfulness.
Boastful – Demonstrating excessive pride in one’s achievements and advantages.
Proud – Having an excessively high opinion of one’s importance, achievements, qualities, and self.
Rude – Rough and impolite in a way that is offensive and ill-mannered and lacks subtlety and sophistication.
Irritable – Easily annoyed or made angry 

Love does not: 

Demand its own way – Refuse to play as a team or take into consideration the thoughts and feelings of others when making decisions.
Keep a record of being wronged – Look for opportunities to remind others of their short comings in the past or live in a place of bitterness that slowly smolders until it has burned away anything good.
Rejoice about injustice – Go along with wrong or sinful actions or decisions, or live without boundaries that honor God.
Give up – Resign to failure and quit trying.
Lose faith – Stop believing in God and/or His power. 

Love does:
Rejoice whenever the truth wins out – Will always celebrate when obedience to God becomes apparent. Is never so disillusioned that it cannot or will not recognize a changed heart.
Endure through every circumstance – Has so much faith in God that it can continue to demonstrate each and every one of the qualities above, no matter the circumstance. 

I would like to point out a few things that are not on this list. It does not say that love will abide with unrepentant sin, will cower to abuse, will be easily manipulated, or will have no conviction or faith of its own. In fact, there are other parts of the Bible that would demonstrate each and every one of these characteristics as decidedly UN-loving. So let’s be careful not to ascribe characteristics to love that the Bible does not. Instead, let’s be wholly committed to living in obedience to what it does say. Let’s ask God, the One who is love itself to give us the power to love like He does. Let’s ask Him to mold us into the image of His Son so that we can love like these verses describe. It won’t be easy, but as His dearly loved children, it can be done! 

Check back tomorrow as we wrap up 1 Corinthians 13 by looking at the last few verses.