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1. Defining Love

Love Is Not...

Love Is Not Envious (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Envy is the idea of wanting something that belongs to someone else. When we are envious of something that belongs to someone else, we hold a grudge against him for owning it. It is the idea of wanting to take it away from him so we can have it.

Envy is always evil. It is never neutral. Envy is never right or good. In Galatians 5:21, envy is listed as one of the works of the flesh. When a person is envious, he does not follow God. He is giving himself over to serve Satan.

In a way, when we love someone, we are possessive. This type of possessiveness is one in which we express longing or desire to be with the object of our love. It is the idea of wanting the best for the other person. It is not the idea of owning the other person.

Love Is Not Proud (1 Corinthians 13:4)
This is the idea that is expressed by several Greek words that often are translated arrogant, puffed up, or boastful. A proud person is one who is so conceited and inflated by his or her own self-worth that nobody else matters. None of us likes to be around such people. Their arrogance can be based in their wealth, intelligence, family background, political position, or almost anything that they feel sets them above the rest. Such attitudes and behaviors are condemned by God.

Solomon writes, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling" (Proverbs 16:18). He declared that eventually the proud and arrogant will pay the price for their mean behavior. That price will result in their ruin and destruction - whether in this world or the one to come (eternity).

According to Solomon, there is no question as to whether they will pay the price - it is guaranteed that they will. It is only a matter of when they will pay for it.

In one of His parables, Jesus told the story of two men who went up to the Temple to pray (Luke 18:9-14). One was a tax collector (considered a traitor and collaborator and hated by the rest of the Jewish people). He confessed that he was a sinner and asked for God's mercy.

The other was a religious leader who proclaimed that God was lucky to have him on His side. He declared all the good that he did and stated proudly that nobody else could compare with him for being such a fine person.

What did Jesus say about these two men? The tax collector was pardoned and exalted by God. He went home justified. The religious leader was disgraced. God rejected him. Jesus added that people who are proud and arrogant will be destroyed by God while those who confess their sins and treat people with love and caring will find divine favor.

James writes about the damage caused by pride and boasting. He says that an arrogant person's tongue is like a match in a forest. From a small match a great forest fire rages, destroying all in its path. The tongue is the same. It is a small part of the body but it sets us on the course to Hell (James 3:5-6).

Love Is Not Rude (1 Corinthians 13:5)
When people are puffed up with pride and arrogance, they behave rudely toward others. They treat people as if they were mere things to be used for their own pleasure or good. They forget that everyone should be regarded with respect, honor, dignity, and consideration.

Love Is Not Selfish (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Selfish people do not care about anyone else. They see only what they want. Nobody else is important. When selfish people do not get their way, they sulk, pout, whine, become angry and throw temper tantrums. Although they are adults, they act like spoiled children. In reality, they have never grown up.

Selfishness is one of the root causes of the world's evils. 1 Kings 21, gives an example of this with King Ahab and Naboth. Naboth (a commoner) had a vineyard next to Ahab's palace. Ahab wanted it for a vegetable garden and tried to buy it. When Naboth refused to sell, Ahab acted like a spoiled child. He went to bed and refused to eat or talk to anyone. Do you know how spoiled children hold their breath until they pass out? Well, that was the way Ahab misbehaved.

Jezebel, Ahab's wife, told him to quit acting like a baby and act like a powerful King! She had Naboth killed and stole his family's vineyard! Because of Ahab's selfishness, a righteous man lost his life and his family's possessions were stolen.

Love Is Not Easily Provoked (1 Corinthians 13:5)
This is the idea of not wearing your feelings on your sleeve. It is not allowing yourself to become embittered, insulted, or enraged by a real or imagined insult. Paul says that it is better to be cheated by a brother than to become angry and file a lawsuit against him. When we react with anger and bitterness against others - especially a fellow Christian - we allow Satan to control us (1 Corinthians 5:1-8 and Ephesians 4:25-27).

Love Thinks No Evil (1 Corinthians 13:5)
This is the idea of not keeping a record of evil or mean deeds that other people do. This goes back to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38- 48) when Jesus told the crowd to love their enemies and pray for those that persecute them. Jesus ends that passage by saying: "Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." As God is loving and forgiving - so should we be... loving and forgiving.

Love Is Not Happy When People Sin (1 Corinthians 13:6)
God declares that sin is lawlessness and that sinners will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Love sees sin as an offense against God. Only people who are enemies of God will rejoice in sin and try to get others to sin also (Romans 1:32).

Love Is Not a Quitter (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Paul says, "Love never fails." This goes back to the fact that God is the source of love. Since God is Love, if we are like Him - our love will exist from eternity to eternity.

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