True Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Why does love, or charity, make everything else work?  Why is it a more excellent way, as Paul says?  Because it is absent of self.  It is totally focused on the benefit of the other.  This was perfectly modeled by Christ Himself.  He did not come to earth to die on the cross for His own benefit.  He did not do it spurred on by a cold sense of duty or a robotic obedience to His Father.  But He was motivated by love to give Himself totally for the benefit of the ones He loved.

There is within Christ this perfect love, everything that we really long for from someone else.  And these characteristics describe what we are to be to others.  It’s the kind of love and selflessness that we should long to show to our Lord and to those around us.  So these are the kinds of things we have to do if we want to love the way that Jesus loves.  And if we want the things that we do to matter and have value, they must have that priceless and essential ingredient of love.

The love of God is one thing that stands the test of time.  In the beginning, God made a world and He made a man, and He declared it all good.  And even after centuries of sin corrupting that world and the hearts of men, Jesus said that God so loved the world that He gave His Son.  It was a necessary and deliberate act that showed His love in a way that it couldn’t be shown otherwise.  And so it is for us.  As recipients of that great and unending love, we exhibit it to others in those deliberate and purposeful ways, choosing to show patience and kindness and selflessness and all those other things to a hurting, sin-cursed world.

The eternal love of God is something that we can’t fully understand just now.  But here we have a snapshot of the essence of God’s love, a love we as His church and His people are to imitate in the things that we do.  So in all those ways we seek to minister, in all that we do to serve, may we be driven and motivated by love.  May we incorporate these aspects of true love into all that we do as we seek to show the love of God to those around us.

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