When we come to an understanding of God’s love for us, as identified in Jesus, this is something we desire to respond to. We respond to God, pouring out from our hearts, asking for forgiveness, seeking to turn from our old ways and to pursue the new life in Him (Romans 6:3-14). As we pursue this new life, we consider what true love looks like (based on Christ’s example).
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
My grandmother once offered a prayer that I want to share with you today:
Charity – 1 Corinthians 13
God grant me peace and love of truth
That I may good in all men see;
And learn by patient diligence
The meaning of true charity.
I do not ask for earthly store,
But only for Thy wealth I pray,
That in this world of dark despair
My life may be a shining ray.
I will pass this way but once,
And so in passing may I find
The love that casteth out all fear
Which is God’s gift to all mankind.
Love – that quality of heart
That makes each day a new delight;
That helps us to forgive each wrong,
Each petty thought or fancied slight.
God give me faith and hope and love,
Discernment that will help me see
That in a world of war and strife
The greatest gift is charity.
(Olive Davies, date unknown).
In what areas of your life do you find true love easy to practice? In what areas do you find it difficult?
What help do you need from God to practice true love? What help do you need from community?
Pray and ask God to bring to mind one person that you can show love to. Consider committing to this person, asking God how you can share love with them in specific ways.