“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (I John 4:7-8)
God calls believers in Christ to presently, actively and self-sacrificially love one another. This is because self-sacrificial love of the will originates and is sourced from God. Therefore, it stands to reason that such a love from God should be seen in those who belong to God by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Conversely, it also stands to reason that those who do not love one another self-sacrificially are those who do not know God. This demonstration, or lack thereof, of love speaks louder and more evidently than words.
I Corinthians 13 is such a familiar passage in Scripture that we tend to overlook the daily and practical qualities of God’s love in our lives. We hear it read at weddings and perhaps even hear it sung. As a way of reminder, what are the particular qualities of love that God says believers in Christ are to demonstrate? I Corinthians 13:4-8a provides us with the answer.
Love is patient. Patience (μακροθυμεῖ; makrothymei) means to demonstrate internal and external control in difficult circumstances. It means to endure, tolerate, to persevere and to have emotional stamina in the midst of trying circumstances. Have you ever had to display patience with a fellow believer in Christ? Have fellow believers in Christ ever had to display patience with you? This is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love is kind. Kindness (χρηστεύεται; chresteuetai) is doing something beneficial for someone. It means to have compassion, sympathy, gentleness and helpfulness towards another individual. Kindness is demonstration of God’s love.
Love does not envy. Envy (ζηλοῖ; zeloi) is being jealous. It is wanting what someone else has and resenting those who have what you want. Envy is greed, and is often accompanied by the emotion of bitterness caused by unfulfilled desire. To not envy is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love does not boast. To boast (περπερεύεται; perpereuetai) means to brag or to praise oneself. To not boast is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love is not arrogant. Arrogance (φυσιοῦται; physioutai) is to have pride or to be puffed up with a perspective of one’s importance. Arrogance is conceit, egotism, overconfidence and lacking humility. To not be arrogant is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love is not rude. To be rude (ἀσχημονεῖ; aschemonei) means to not be disgraceful and embarrassing. It means to be impolite, discourteous, bad-mannered and insolent. To not be rude is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love does not insist on its own way. The Greek word ζητεῖ (zetei) means to be demanding. It means to demand what you want, often at the expense of others. To not insist on your demands is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love is not irritable. To be irritable (παροξύνεται; paroxynetai) means to be easily upset or provoked at someone or something. To not be irritable is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love is not resentful. Resentment (κακόν; kakon) means to harm or injure. It means to cause pain. To not be resentful is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing. Love is not glad nor pleased with unrighteousness or injustice. Wrongdoing (ἀδικίᾳ; adikia) means to do what is unjust. To not be pleased with wrongdoing is a demonstration of God’s love.
Love rejoices with the truth. Truth (ἀληθείᾳ; aletheia) means that which is real. Too many individuals live in a fantasy world of make believe. They never interact with reality. “The truth” in mind here is the truth of the Gospel. The truth of the Gospel is the inseparable ally of love (Ephesians 4:15; 2 John 1:12). False love compromises “the truth” by glossing over “iniquity” or unrighteousness and is therefore condemned (Proverbs 17:15). To rejoice with the truth is a demonstration of God’s love.
God’s love endures. God’s love is trustworthy. God’s love is a love in which the believer in Christ may have confidence.
Do you have this type of love within the depths of your soul?
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here
Soli deo Gloria!