1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV)
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…
Dwight L. Moody’s wisdom words, “The world does not understand theology or dogma, but it understands love and sympathy.”
Around A.D.54, the Apostle Paul exalts the Christians in Corinth to make LOVE the primary AIM to impact the world. It was the lack of genuine Christian, or AGAPE, love in the church at CORINTH that called forth from Apostle Paul’s heart the tremendous description of the importance, nature and supremacy of Christian LOVE in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.
The church at Corinth had received many great spiritual gifts from God (1 Cor 1: 4-8). Instead of accepting these spiritual gifts with HUMILITY and exercising them with LOVE, the members had become proud and boastful of their gifts. Instead of demonstrating genuine LOVE, they permitted selfish attitudes to prevail that hindered their fellowship with God and also destroyed their fellowship with one another.
Paul insists that for them to fail at the point of practicing genuine Christian LOVE is to fail utterly and completely. LOVE is to be the Christian’s TRADEMARK, or BADGE OF IDENTIFICATION. Without genuine Christian LOVE, everything we do is INCOMPLETE and a FAILURE.
The MORE EXCELLENT WAY or the GREATER GIFT (1 Cor 12:31) is the WAY of LOVE.
1 Corinthians 12:31 (NKJV) – 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
LOVE (AGAPE LOVE) is the essential MEDIUM by which we USE the GIFTS of GOD and RELATE TO and SERVE OTHERS.
LOVE is the FIRST and the GREATEST COMMANDMENT of our LORD JESUS CHRIST (Matt 22:37-39).
LOVE is declared to be the FIRST FRUIT of the INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT IN US (Galatians 5:22-23), and the COMMAND TO LOVE is repeated with a magnificent monotony throughout the New Testament (NT).
James 2:8 calls the command to love “the ROYAL LAW.”
Apostle Paul says that LOVE is a fulfilling of the LAW because “LOVE DOES NO WRONG TO A NEIGHBOR” (Romans 13:10).
LOVE expresses itself in GENUINE AND TRUE concern for the GOOD of OTHERS.
Christian LOVE is NEVER jealous or envious.
Jealousy is basically a selfish concern for oneself rather than a dedication to the well-being of another. There are times when our desire of our own well-being can conflict with what should be our desire for the well-being of OTHERS. JEALOUSY and ENVY are expressions of SELFISHNESS. We must beware lest we envy those who are gifted in other ways than we and perhaps more fortunate than we are.
Christian LOVE is NEVER boastful (1 Cor 13:4).
Love does not boast. It is HUMBLE and GRATEFUL to God’s GIFTS and for life’s achievements. It never struts with a “PEACOCK” complex. It is not arrogant or proud. It never responds to others with an inflated sense of one’s own importance. Christian LOVE is never puffed up with pride and never walks with a haughty spirit.
Christian LOVE is NEVER rude.
– It does not behave in a shameful manner at any time
– It is never blunt or brutal in its comments or in its relationships with others.
Christian LOVE does NOT insist on having its own way.
– It is never self-seeking at the expense of others.
– It insists on the well-being of others first.
– It has a “BIGNESS” of spirit that puts aside self-assertion and self-preservation in the interest of others’ well-being.
Christian LOVE is NOT irritable or easily angered, nor does it fly into a rage.
– It is not mean or high-tempered.
– It is not difficult to live with.
– It does not irritate or provoke others.
– It does not lose its “cool.”
Christian LOVE is NOT resentful, and keeps NO records of wrongs.
– It refuses to tolerate bitterness, un-forgiveness and resentment in the heart.
– It refuses to harbor hostility toward others but instead practices FORGIVENESS and FORBEARANCE.
Christian LOVE is never glad when others go wrong or when things turn out badly for others.
– It never gloats over the sins, mistakes and shortcomings of others.
– It never rejoices over the failures or tragedies that befall others.
Christian LOVE never gives up HOPE.
– It never comes to an end. It never gives up. It never gives up HOPE on others.
Who can practice LOVE on this level?
You can, with the HELP and GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ abiding in our hearts. The truth of God’s AGAPE LOVE will set us free to love others as we should in Christ Jesus.
“Divine LOVE of Christ Jesus” for us begets love within us.
We LOVE God because HE first loved us.
Real and genuine LOVE is the first fruit of the Spirit.
We can LOVE GOD because of the presence of the LIVING CHRIST in our hearts.
True Christian LOVE is the ONLY force that will really work in LIFE and the WORLD around us.
A poet once has said, “Put LOVE in your eyes like light in the skies. Put LOVE in your words like the song of the birds. Put LOVE in your mind and a TRUE LOVE you will find.”
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES :
1 Corinthians 12:13 (NKJV)
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
2. 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 (NKJV) – Spiritual Gifts at Corinth
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
4. Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
5. James 2:8 (NKJV)
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;
6. Romans 13:10 (NKJV)
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.