The Believer, the World, and Christ: Part 6

For Valentines Day, February 14th.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 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. 12 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.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 13:4–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

This must be your relationship with your spouse. This is God’s relationship with the believer. Love waits patiently for an opening to make itself known. Paul was writing to the Corinthians who would charge head first into matters to insist they were right. He was showing them the difference between their understanding of love, or eros, and the Christian understanding of love.

The world’s concept of love, on full display at Corinth, was a self-satisfying love. It was the love of sexual fulfillment. It was the love of self-pleasure. It was the love of triumphalism and self-righteousness. It is, to this day, the love the world knows.

Christians should reflect God’s love. He is firm and correcting, but he is also loving. He does not cheer the ruination of His creation, but patiently tries to show His love. We must be that with our children, with our loved ones, and with those we prayerfully try to draw to Christ.

Jesus asked how many times we should forgive others. He said, in effect, always be willing to forgive because we should always be willing to love and to welcome into the flock of the church those who have been on the outside. We draw them in with love. We patiently wait till the moment arises to make God’s love known. We must never give up because God does not give up on us. God’s love, and our love, should not be the love of winning an argument, but the love of winning a soul.