Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,” – 1 Corinthians 13:4
Over the next five days, I will be Looking at 1 Corinthians 13 and how Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, describes what true love actually is. This is important as we see the world going away from what love while focusing more on themselves. We, as Christians need to be a light in this world, showing what God wants His people to be like. And in exhibiting what love really is, we may cause many who see it to desire becoming a child of God because of it.
This verse starts by declaring that love is patient. In other words, love for our fellow man, saved or not, is extremely patient toward them. It suffers all the weaknesses and ignorance, errors and infirmities of the children of God. It endeavors to work in whatever way necessary to be a help in all times of trial. It does not get frustrated. It does what is necessary in order to guide our brothers and sisters into all truth, helping them walk in the ways God desires us all to walk. Remember, we all have a history, things that have happened to us that shape the way we react to things. It is important that we work through them, both in ourselves as well as with others, so that we can all grow in God.
Regarding those of this world, we must patiently work through all the anger, malice and wickedness in order to draw them to listen to the truth and help them make the decision to accept Christ. No matter what they do, no matter what they say, no matter how they may ridicule us, we must continue to love them: desiring they come to the knowledge of the truth. To give up on the unsaved is not showing love for them. We may need to take a break, but we should never give up.
And along with the above, we are to be kind to all people. The word translated kind has the idea of tenderness and compassion. It is mild-tempered, gentle and benign. And, as the theologian Adam Clarke puts it, “if called to suffer, inspires the sufferer with the most amiable sweetness, and the most tender affection.” This can be difficult to do, but it can be done. God can help us to have such a love for them that whatever they do, we still want what is best for them, that being salvation and God living in them.
Also, it is not jealous of what another has. It is not grieved simply because they have a greater portion of something good or has something we have always wanted but have never attained. We should be happy for them, knowing that God will always supply us with everything we need. And it does not brag about anything, but is humble, looking at others more highly that it looks at itself. This is the truest picture of love, one that sees ourselves as ministers to all. Not through pride and arrogance, but letting everyone know that they are, if not more, important then we are.
I encourage us all to pray that God will give us this type of love for everyone who we come across. This is the love Christ had for us, and this should and must be the love we have for others. God will give it to us, we just need to seek it with all our hearts, and then walk whereby people see our love and is drawn to Him.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.