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1. Defining Love

Love Is...

Love Is Patient (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Patience is the idea of persistence - an unswerving willingness to wait for events to happen rather than trying to force them to happen. Normally, we think of patience as something passive. It is not. It is a virtue that is always active. It is not just waiting for something to happen but to actively prepare for the event to happen. It helps us to meet our neighbors, friends, family, and enemies halfway and to share God and our life with them.

Love Is Kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)
According to Erich Beyreuther, kindness is moral excellence and perfection in which greatness is linked with a genuine goodness of the heart. It is an essential element of love. You cannot show love without being kind.

Love Rejoices In the Truth (1 Corinthians 13:6)
The word truth as it is used in the New Testament can mean...
  • that which is the opposite of a falsehood, concealment, or deception
  • the Gospel itself
  • God's revelation to man, or
  • that which exposes human falsehood.
In 1 Corinthians 13:6, truth is contrasted with unrighteousness. Therefore, love rejoices when evil is defeated and a person turns to God's truth for salvation.

What greater love can we show one another than to want him or her to leave a life of serving Satan and become an active member of the Lord's family? Love wants to spend eternity in Heaven with those we are close to on earth.

Love Bears All Things (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Bearing all things is not the idea of a heavy load placed on us to carry. Al- though we might carry the load, there is much complaining about how unfair others are to us. Nor does it suggest that we carry the load with stoic resignation that asks us to carry it without complaining (while silently resenting it).

Instead, it is the idea of quietly enduring suffering from some actual wrong done to us. Love does not complain or resent being unfairly treated.

Jesus Christ is our Model for enduring love. He came to earth as our Savior while we were yet enemies. While here, He was ridiculed by the religious leaders of His own people, rejected by the vast majority of common people, betrayed and abandoned by His own followers, given a phony trial, brutally beaten, and killed in the most painful way ever devised by man.

How did Jesus react to such treatment? There was no limit to Jesus' love for men. As John wrote in John 3:16... "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son." Jesus (the Son) showed the unlimited nature of this love when He suffered and died for ALL men. Instead of striking back and destroying His enemies, Jesus died that they might be reconciled to God and enjoy eternal life. When we love as Jesus loves, we will bear all mistreatment so others will be able to come to a knowledge and obedience of God.

Love Believes All Things (1 Corinthians 13:7)
This is not the idea of believing everything: bad or good - evil or righteous - about someone. It is the idea of believing in the good that people do.

Too frequently, when someone does something good for another person, his motives are brought into question. We try to figure out why he did it. What is in it for him? Love says that people do good for others because that is the way God wants them to behave. The only motive for doing good is to be more like Christ.

Love Hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Hope is not pessimistic. Hope is optimistic! Hope is based in God's grace. We look around us and see fellow human beings and we want what is best for them. We hope that they will turn their backs on Satan at some future date and decide to follow and obey Jesus Christ, making Him their Lord and God.

Love Is Greater than ALL God's Gifts (1 Corinthians 13:9)
God provides all men with certain gifts or natural abilities. Those who obey God are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to live within them (Acts 2:38). God (Holy Spirit), takes those natural abilities and strengthens them so Christians can use them in His service.

During the First Century, the Holy Spirit also provided special spiritual, supernatural abilities. Some of these were the ability to speak in foreign languages never learned, the ability to understand foreign languages never studied, the ability to miraculously heal the sick, and the ability to receive direct revelations from God.

These gifts - both supernatural and natural - while important, are not as important than love. They are given to us by God to serve Him. Love is greater because it makes us like... God.

Love Will Last Forever (1 Corinthians 13:13)
All things created will eventually be destroyed when Jesus returns in Judgment. Faith and hope will no longer be necessary. They will be replaced with divine knowledge and fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams.

Only love will remain. It remains because it is part of the very essence of God.

We, too, must follow God's example. As God is love, we also must become love. Love is not something we do. It is something that we are .

Next Article: Conclusion

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