Word for Wednesday-Fourteen Ingredients of Love
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever.
Let's look at the fourteen ingredients of agape love and how we can apply this love to our lives. In the above verse, Paul spells out clearly for us just what love is.
- Love is patient. Literally love suffers long; it has a long fuse. When Jesus was wronged, he was patient and silent.
- Love is kind. Love is going out of our way to be full of grace toward others.
- Love does not envy. Unconditional love desires the best for others. Our main goal is for our beloved to be all God intends them to be.
- Love does not boast. The Greek here implies we do not boast like a "windbag." Jesus never showed off. His greatness is often revealed in what He suppressed, rather than what He did or said.
- Love is not proud. God's love is not arrogant. Pride is inflated selfishness. Love is genuine humility.
- Love is not rude. It is never inconsiderate or inattentive.
- Love is not self-seeking. God's love does not grasp for its own rights. This rules out selfish, conditional types of love -- the "I love you if", and the "I love you because" loves.
- Love is not easily angered. It does not become irritated. It is not touchy. Jesus was never vindictive. He never retaliated when wronged. He never grumbled or had a bad temper. (His temple-cleansing was a controlled and calculated response.)
- Love keeps no record of wrongs. God's love forgives and forgets. Jesus came to blot out our sins and remember them no more.
- Love does not delight in evil but it rejoices in truth. Love is never glad when others do wrong or wrongs happen to others. It does not delight in the weakness of others. It does not gloat or gossip.
- Love always trusts, and believes all things. God's love gives the benefit of the doubt. It is loyal, yet not gullible. It is tolerant in judging others.
- Love always hopes. It never takes failure as final. It always looks toward the future, not the past.
- Love always perseveres. It endures all. God's love cannot be conquered. If we endure with Christ, we will reign with Him.
- Love goes on forever. Love is eternal. It never fails. It never loses strength. It never leaves its place. It is immovable and indefatigable.
So, there you have them, the fourteen ingredients of love. But I want you to do something else. I want you to read the list and replace the word "love" with "Jesus." It fits, doesn't it? God is love.
1 John 4:16 (NIV) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
You are thinking, "okay great, David. Tell me something I don't know." Now put YOUR name in the place of love. Pretty humorous? Pretty sad? Do you see how far apart we are from Jesus? Do you see where you need to improve? I challenge you to pick one or more of the above areas that your name absolutely does not fit and pray for God's guidance and wisdom to help you become more Christlike. That's the goal for us, being more like Him. While we will never reach perfection here on earth, I believe that it pleases God greatly for us to be growing, progressing toward perfection -- and not just be static. So, what we really have here are fourteen qualities or values of Christlikeness. God is love.
Dear Father, thank You so much for your instruction manual, which we call our Bible. Thank You for showing us a "more excellent way" to live. Thank You for sending your Son Jesus to model for us the perfect unconditional love that You have for us and want us to have toward You. Most of all, we thank You for the greatest love story ever written, the story written in blood on an old rugged cross over 2,000 years ago. The ultimate love story, Jesus giving His life, so that all those who call on Him to be their Savior may live eternally with You. In His name, Amen.