Written by Leah Ude / March 2016
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The passage above is one of the first things I see when I wake up and one of the last things I see before I turn out the light to go to bed. The words of this passage are artfully printed onto a canvas and hanging on a wall in my bedroom. These words dance in my head as I am drinking my morning coffee, making my mental to-do list. Many times I pledge to myself to act a certain way. “Today you will be loving! You will not be selfish, careless, or grumpy! You will look out for the welfare and happiness of all you come into contact with!” Later, while I am laying in bed replaying the day’s events and checking off my to-do list, I come up short in respect to this goal. It’s possible that I had committed some act of kindness somewhere during my day, but overall I am displeased with the results.
Many people search the world to find a “1 Corinthians 13 love” but are left wanting. If we study 1 Corinthians 13 within its context of Paul’s letter, we see that true love is a powerful and earth-shaking force to be reckoned with, only to be found in Christ our Savior.
If you ask friends or family to list my personality traits, patient is not a word you will find on any list. I am plagued by feelings of jealousy, pride, and selfishness. I often need reminders of the fact that I am not perfect. You could examine your own life and come up with a laundry list of thoughts and habits that do not fit with the Biblical definition of love. We are all sinful, flawed, fickle humans.
If we are not possible of fulfilling the words of the passage above, where can we ever hope to find such a love? Is such a love even possible? Are we even deserving of this love? These may sound like silly questions to us when we have all the answers given to us in Scripture.
In His holy Word we learn that God is patient with sinners (2 Peter 3:9). He looks kindly upon His children (Psalm 103:8). He is truly just and righteous (Deuteronomy 32:4). God sent His only Son who humbled Himself to live a perfect life among imperfect people (Philippians 2:8). He suffered and died a gruesome criminal’s death on the cross all for His creation (1 Peter 2:22-25). He cleared our debt of sin and defeated our enemies.
Many people search the world to find a “1 Corinthians 13 love” but are left wanting. If we study 1 Corinthians 13 within its context of Paul’s letter, we see that true love is a powerful and earth-shaking force to be reckoned with, only to be found in Christ our Savior. It is presented to us as a free gift that God commands believers to share with the human race. In these times of uncertainty and fear the best way to “share the love” is to spread God’s message of salvation found in His Word to others.
Remember the words of 1 Corinthians 6:20, “you were bought at a price.” The price that paid for every human soul was the body and blood of Christ. If we truly believe the words that Christ speaks to us about our own sinfulness and salvation, how can we withhold that powerful message from other poor sinners?
The facts are clear. Our worldly notions about “true love” pale in comparison to what we have been given through Christ’s work. His love for sinners transcends and endures all things! His love is unconditional and unwavering. This love will never fail.