1 Corinthians 13:1-8
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
It’s here after Paul reveals the power and priority of love that he reveals the:
- Picture of Love – Vs 4-7
Paul provides us with something more powerful than just principles in Verses 4-7 he provides us with a picture of love, so that we will know what love looks like. It’s in this picture that we see two contrasting practices, one that we are called to put on and the other we are called to put off.
- Practices to Put on
1. Patient – some versions use the word Suffers longs. Real love endures slights and wrongs patiently just like God Himself as revealed in Psalm 103:8: “The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” Paul here reminds us of a both a painful truth and a powerful promise, that when it comes to people we will encounter problems but when it comes to patience there is incredible power. Without patience, we tend to take matters into our own hands and instead of walking by faith we engage in the works of the flesh. Your patience with people will be in proportion to your trust in God’s promises. Patience is believing God enough that you give Him the room to be the Ruler. Instead of meddling and making a mess of things you trust the problems and the people to God. Because you recognize that He is the only one who can change people’s hearts. Patience doesn’t react with hurt it responds with healing knowing that God is in control. Trusting God with people and with the problems and pain that they can cause means trusting His timetable. Are you patiently trusting in God’s truth or in our timetable? Are you living according to Christ’s calendar or clinging to yours? Not only is love patient but it:
2. Is kind – Kindness is active good will that moves us to help others. It’s not just kind thoughts but acts of kindness. Kindness is love in action, it’s the characteristic that led God to provide salvation for us as Titus 3:4-5 says: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” The kindness of God is also seen in Psalm 23:2-3, in God’s provision of green pastures, peaceful still waters, and the restoration of our souls in a wicked and weary world. The kindness of God is displayed in our lives when we tenderly and compassionately care for others. Our every action, attitude and word is flavored with grace when we walk in kindness. But this is not just a kindness reserved for those we love but also for those who hate us. But in order to express kindness toward those who are against us requires the work of God seen in 2 Corinthians 6:4-6: “4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love” Today we marvel at random acts of kindness, but when we are walking with the Lord kindness should become a regular everyday occurrence in our lives not a random one.
3. Rejoices in the truth – When love sees truth manifested in the lives of others, love responds with rejoicing. True love rejoices in what is right and good, it doesn’t seek to cover up sin and justify wrongdoing. Real love deals with sin it doesn’t sweep sin under the rug or look for ways to get by with bad behavior. Instead, it treasures truth, celebrates good behavior, and promotes virtue. True love has nothing to hide, and everything to rejoice in. What about you, are you rejoicing in truth or trash?
4. Bears all things – Love provides protection. The Greek word for “protects” here means “to cover” and includes the idea of protecting and preserving. It reminds us of God’s love, a love that provides protection. When we display the character of Christ we love with a love that watches out for others and is willing to withstand difficulty. When there is a shortcoming or fault in the one being loved, love has the ability to cover it like Proverbs 10:12 states, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” When it comes to the sins and the failings of other people love is willing to suffer as it bears with them patiently. Love is not based on selfish desire or even mutual benefit; rather, it seeks the benefit of the other person. Love aims to give rather than receive.
5. Believes all things – A person with God’s type of love will “always trust.” That is, they will not be suspicious of the one they love. They will be slow to believe any damaging news concerning the one being loved and will always give the benefit of the doubt. Trusting means that you are always ready to believe the best about that person. Why do we need trust, because trust is the foundation of our relationships and without a foundation anything you try to build, is built on unstable ground. Mistrust, and suspicion are not only at odds with Godly love but they undermine and ruin our relationships.
6. Hopes all things – Love believes that all will work out well. This doesn’t just refer to circumstances but also to the conduct of others, meaning that however dark things may appear love holds onto this hope that things are not what they seem. It extends to “all things” to both words and deeds, and both public and private as well as that done and said in our own presence as well as in our absence. Love will never credit anything to the contrary unless compelled to do so.
7. Perseveres – it endures all things by bearing up under, meaning it sustains and does not complain. It bears up under all persecutions whether to person, property, or personal reputation. Paul starts with what to put on because he wants us to realize that part of the removing process is in replacing. The mistake we often make is to try and remove but never replace and it isn’t long before the sin we removed is replaced by another.What about you are you is your love patient, kind, rejoicing in truth, bearing, believing, hoping, and persevering? Are you living in God’s love, or is there something missing in your life?