The older I grow, the more I understand that the pure love of God is our greatest need. Age also reveals to me how little I know about loving well. I’ve spent the last month soaking in 1 Corinthians 13 and a powerful little book called, Love is the Greatest by Audrey Williamson. My prayer is that something I share from the treasures I received may bless you in a small way.
In our world, love is such a misunderstood, overused word. Scripture tells us that we love only because God first loved us. Divine love transforms lives because love reflects its source…and God’s love is perfect, unmarred by sin. The love we express, though is perverted by our self-centered expression. That’s not the way love is intended to be.
Love is a growing interest in, an appreciation for and a responsibility to others. Love is designed to meet the needs we all share:
- to be wanted
- to be liked
- to be appreciated
- to be valued
- to be involved
“A lover of people is God,” said Moses as he offered his final blessing on the nation of Israel.
Friends, we need to be a lover of people like our God.
Soak with me in the rare, elusive beauty of love as 1 Corinthians 13 explains it:
- willing to suffer
- receiving hurts without bitterness
- being ignored
- being rejected
- being attacked
- actively responding not just stoic, stubborn endurance
- friendly and helpful to those who don’t love them
- generous toward all, even the undeserving
- encouraging and complimentary to all
- without envy – fully content
- celebrating the advantages of others
- confident in God’s awareness and purpose in this moment
- focuses on those less fortunate instead of more fortunate
- trusts that the good of all is in God’s eternal plan
- humbly serves
- primarily interested in the common good
- does not need to have the spotlight
- courteously engages
- considers the feelings and desires of others
- seeks to see and meet needs
- lays down its own ‘rights’
- doesn’t dig in or demand its way
- not obsessed with being right
- not intent on justifying itself
- doesn’t claim to have earned something
- doesn’t insist that it deserves this or that
- doesn’t belittle or attack those who feel differently
- doesn’t dig in or demand its way
- exercises self-restraint
- noble warrior
- not ill-tempered or riotous
- chooses forgiveness
- refuses to store up hurts
- refuses to entertain suspicions
- believes in what God can do
- expects to find good
- views the world through eyes of grace
- looks for the fingerprints of God in every person, every situation.
- believes in what God will do
- confident of ultimate victory
- claims the future
- doesn’t give up
- doesn’t even grow weary
Don’t you want to be loved like that?
Don’t you want to love like that?
When I first worked through the list, my heart ached at how I fail to love. I do grow weary. Sometimes the future isn’t something I want to claim. I don’t act kindly toward those who pierce me. And it grieved my heart to think of how every failure to love pierced the One who loves me. And in that instant, I heard His voice. Look at you through my eyes. See YOU through my love.
So, I paused…and my heart melted to receive the love I long for…and miraculously, love for others — real love — just like the Word describes it began to well up in me. I committed to asking God to show me who to love each day…to show me the ways I could love better. It’s awesome. Love is life-giving…to others and ourselves.
The Corinthians passage ends reminding us of the outcome of love. Love produces satisfaction, security and life itself. Love is a radiant source of strength and harmony. It is the key to personal maturity and the goal of our lives. Faith, Hope and Love remain. Faith bridges our life to God. Hope is our ever-increasing understanding of His goodness. But love is living the reality of the incarnated Christ.