Valentine’s Day was several weeks ago, but I have still been reflecting on the theme of this month- love. Hearing comments from friends, seeing a chick flick last weekend and just looking at our world in general has provided me with many pictures of what love is NOT.
1 Corinthians 13 is a very familiar but beautiful picture of what love really is supposed to look like. Here are verses 3-7 in the Message version .
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Loves doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Loves doesn’t strut,
doesn’t have a swelled head,
doesn’t force itself on others,
isn’t always “me first”,
doesn’t fly off the handle,
doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
doesn’t revel when others grovel,
takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth,
puts up with anything,
trusts God always,
always looks for the best,
never looks back,
but keeps going to the end.
We don’t get much farther than verse 4 to see the contrast of this world’s idea of love. In the NIV it says, “Love is patient”. People don’t really know the meaning of being patient these days with fast food, speedy checkout lanes, going 70 MPH in a 60 MPH zone, and every kind of convenience you can imagine. I’m thankful that God is patient with me. He shows us the kind of relentless, never-giving-up kind of love we are supposed to show to each other.
I thought this phrase was great: “Trusts God always”. That’s what love is supposed to be like. When I’m relying on God for everything, I think this brings joy and peace and allows us to have more room in our hearts to share God’s love. It also increases our love for God, and helps us grow closer to Him to learn more what real love looks like.
I guess love isn’t just a theme for one day or month out of the year, but should be theme of our whole life. God’s picture of love is a whole lot different than the world’s picture of love, and as we grow closer to God we can know more of what this love is supposed to look like.