Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Abiding Fruit: Love = Excellence (1 Corinthians 13)

Passage to Read: 1 Corinthians 13

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
   4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
   8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.
   11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
   13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

LOVE! The greatest of these is LOVE!!! This is SO true, but what we have to remember is that the "love" spoken of in this chapter has nothing to do with feelings, has nothing to do with a person, has nothing to do with whether someone did something or not... this LOVE is AGAPE love, and this love is unconditional and it requires a CHOICE to love like this.

I also believe that to have this kind of "love" grow within us, we have to stay in the vine (meaning we must remain in Jesus).  If we stray away, we cut off the nutrient source to the branch (us), and that will result where we think we can get what we need from other sources.  And yes, as humans, we think we can "seek" out love in other things, but really all it does is leave us empty, broken hearted, and wounded.  But if we would just remain in Jesus, following His Words and living out His will, we will grow this "agape" love within us.

See our society today confuses love with lust.  Unlike lust, God's kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourself.  It is utterly selfish.

This kind of love is unconditional - you can do whatever you want, but this love will remain.  God's love never fails! God's love is always there! God's love      is beyond the imaginable!

This is the kind of love I want to grow within me.  I don't want to be a selfish person, but there are times that I fail and think "but I DO everything" or "what about me?" - and that's not what God wants me to do.  He wants to me to love unconditionally without any preset notions to people, to my husband, and to my son.  I find it rather easy to have this kind of love with people and my son -- but at times this is hard to do with my husband.  I can fail at times and that "about me" syndrome will rise.  And all that does is cause chaos, more arguments, and pretty much adds fire to the fire -- it's not a pretty sight.

But if I could learn to love my husband with this agape love, peace, joy, patience, and true love will grow in our relationship in a way we have never seen.

So, I choose to give up the "me" syndrome.  I choose to fulfill this 1 Corinthians 13 agape love in my marriage because I want to change.  I want to love my husband and treat him like I would Jesus - meaning I give him the BEST, I give him 100+ percent of me, I make my home a haven for him, I dress to impress... and more.

What I find rather interesting though, 1 John 4:8 says "God is love".  If you take 1 Corinthians 13 and replace every word of "love" with "God" - how amazing it is to see that you can't LOVE without God and at the same time, you HAVE to remain in the vine to receive love.

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