One of the most beautiful pictures of love in the Bible is in 1 Corinthians - the "love" passage in chapter 13. It is an overwhelming and vivid display of what sacrificial love looks like. It is amazing and exquisite and flawless...superlative in every way. It is simply divine...If it is so beautiful and amazing, why is it that so often when I have read this account of love I have felt despair, discouragement and disillusionment? Despair because try as I might I have not been successful at loving this way. Discouraged because after being a Christian for over 10 years I thought I might be more loving, yet I find that I'm really not. Disillusioned because the picture I had of being a loving Christian does not line up with the reality of being a not so loving Christian.
I am still a sinful flawed person living in a fallen world and so often like Paul, I find that I do what I don't want to do and I don't do the things I know I should do!
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.
As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13
I am realizing more and more these days that try as I may, all my efforts to improve aren't working. Trying to love like this is impossible. Then I remember...
Jesus, with outstretched nail pierced hands says to me "My love - you can stop trying to do this on your own.
There's no need for this never ending cycle of effort and despair. See - I have loved you with a perfect love that will never fade, never give up, never end. In Me, you have the love your seeking, all the love you need. I delivered up My body for you, and even though it looked like I was losing I gained everything by giving up. I won for you, so you are free to give up. In those moments when you fail at loving others, when you feel like you're drowning in guilt and shame remember Me. Remember My love for you, remember it is not dependent on what you do or say. Remember that I came to rescue you, to bring you back, to care for you. I love you, God gave you to Me and I will keep you always and forever.
Nothing can change My love for you...nothing...forever...and ever..."
but the greatest of these is Love.