I am going to provide a character profile of a trait, and I want you to tell me what it is.
It is NOT...
*delighted in evil
What is it?
If that all sounded familiar, it is because you have probably heard it described many times in 1 Corinthians 13. The trait I was describing is love. Yet, I hate to just stop there. It isn't only someTHING that I am describing, it's someOne.
This passage was preached about in church yesterday, and as I was sitting there looking over it, an obvious truth came to my mind that made this chapter so much more real to me. I thought of 1 John 4:8, "God is love."
If God is love, then 1 Corinthians 13 describes God's personality.
"Love" is a word today that has come to mean a lot of different things. The love of God is not the "I love pizza" love or the "I love my new car" love or even the "I love that Bible verse" love. It's GODLY love. It is love so high and deep and wide that we could not ever physically contain it. And look at it's characteristics!
When I look over those characteristics, it convicts me to strive for that GODLY love by keeping all of it's traits in check. By being a "loving" person, look how many other traits you posses with it! It's truly amazing. If we would all just fine-tune our ability to be loving...
Love can be a complicated thing. So often, we search for love in all the wrong places. What we end up with is a kind of love that is empty and broken, and a lot of times false. Where do we find real love? God. The love that comes from God is so deep and pure and real, and it is ultimately all we need. Christ is our all. His love endures forever!
Another beautiful thing about God and His love is that He loves everyone... not just the ones who love him back, but even the ones who don't. How good of a job are we doing at loving everyone, as Christ does? One piece of advice that I received on this matter was from Bro. Joe Braker many years ago, and I will never forget it. He said, "If you are having trouble loving somebody, pray for him." Trust me, it works!
What do we need to work on in our own lives to have this 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love?
1 John 4:8-12 (NIV)
8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I love you all.