God’s definition of love, of what it looks like and how to show it, is quite different to the world’s offering of the word.
The world says:
I will show love only if you show me love first. I will love you, but it comes with a long list of conditions that you are to meet. Love can often become a throw away word with not much depth or meaning attached and very little action behind it.
But God’s ways are always higher than our ways and as his children and through his word he teaches us how to love.
Love is spoken of in depth in the familiar bible passage found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
Do you think it’s coincidental that the first word to describe love in this scriptural passage is that it is patient!? I think not! As a mum to two young children, I am continually being stretched in the area of patience. Seemingly insignificant things that shouldn’t take long or be an issue can become a huge deal.
There can be meltdowns in getting in and out of the car, of not being able to find a favourite shirt, of socks slipping down into shoes, of toast being cut the wrong way, and don’t even get me started on shopping centres and trying to walk away from the toy section!
I must practice and show patience every day and while I don’t always get it right, it is one area I can demonstrate love to my children. It is a choice and I must intentionally choose to be patient and respond in love.
Love is… kind
When I think of the word kind, other words accompany it. Words like gentle, calm, considerate, caring, peaceful, lovely. Love is kind. It is thinking of others and their needs, interests, cares and concerns. Kindness can be demonstrated in different ways. Perhaps a phone call or text to a friend to see how they are, giving a bunch of flowers to someone who is on your heart, making a meal for a family or letting someone go before you at the shopping check out.
In the busyness of life sometimes well- meaning ideas of mine are neglected but my prayer is that God gently reminds me and shows me in which ways I can show kindness to others. Often, in my current season of life, it can be the way I respond to my children; the words I speak and the tone in which they are said.
Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud
When I think about the above, my first thoughts are, “I’m not envious, I don’t really boast and I don’t think I’m proud, I get a tick for this one!”
But then I am reminded that sometimes I can be a little (okay, a lot!) envious towards my husband and the uninterrupted nights of sleep he gets while I’m up a lot with our youngest feeding through the night.
Thankfully we love and serve a God of grace and we aren’t bound by law and works to earn love from our heavenly father. But his ways are the ultimate ways and there are always areas to work on especially in the area of love.
Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs
This one is a big one! When I think of loved ones who are lovely and kind to me, well it isn’t hard to not be rude or angry. But it’s a little harder when faced with people who are rude towards you, who say unkind things and are only thinking of themselves.
I don’t know about you, but it can really get to me at times, and even though I feel like being rude back or getting upset, frustrated or angry, God whispers, “Let it go, give it to me. Look up my child!”
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
Evil may sound a bit full on and preposterous to think it would be something to delight in. Evil could include all forms of wickedness and sin.
So how could this look in daily life?
One example is rejoicing or laughing in the misfortune of others. We must instead try to value others in the same way God values each of us.
We must choose to rejoice with the truth.
What is truth? God and his word, his opinion of us and plan for our lives and how he wants us to fellowship with and treat each other.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres
Again, I relate these to my role as a mum and wife. Love always protects (my children and their different needs; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and towards my husband and our marriage; to protect and respect the covenant we have made to each other and to God).
Love always trusts and always hopes speaks to my heart about seeing things in a positive light, of believing in the good of others and in trusting God that he will make a way when there seems to be no way. Love always perseveres speaks to me about not giving up even when I feel like it! To keep loving, even when it is hard to do so.
These are some high ideals and of course I am nowhere close to meeting all of them. Thankfully I can lean on God; on his strength and grace to help love others in this way.
Love never fails!
I think while we are earth-side we will never fully grasp what it truly means to love.
It is a journey and this passage is a good reminder of what love is and looks like, God’s way, and how to actively show it to others. God is love and loves us so deeply that through sending his son, Jesus, to redeem humankind we may see and experience what this love means so in turn we are able to love others, freely and without condition.
Jesus showed perfect love while on earth, and my prayer is that as a follower of Christ I follow his example, strengthened by his spirit to be love and show love to everyone I encounter. Of all the things that come and go in life,
“faith, hope and love remain. And the greatest of these is love.”
Jo Fuller lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast with her husband and young family. Jo has degrees in journalism and education and loves to read and write and spend time with her family.