Archive for February 3rd, 2020

1 Corinthians 13:6-7

In 1 Corinthians 13:6-7 Paul concludes his list of what love is not – 8 different qualities that do not define the agape love that God wants us to have toward one another. He wraps up with “it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” as the last of his ‘does not equal love’ list:

  1. Not envious
  2. Not boastful
  3. Not arrogant
  4. Not rude
  5. Does not insist on its own way
  6. Not irritable
  7. Not resentful
  8. Does not rejoice at wrongdoing

Love wants the best for all. It is never against another. Instead, love rejoices in the truth. Love can always stand with and on truth, because love is pure and good like truth.

Paul now shifts gears to tell us four things that love is: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” These are some of the greatest verses in all of scripture as Paul gives hope for what agape love is all about. This is how God loves us. This is how we should love each other. Spurgeon calls these four virtues love’s four sweet companions. These four more things love is:

  1. Bearing
  2. Believing
  3. Hoping
  4. Enduring

But before we talk about what these four mean, it is important to wrestle with the way Paul characterizes each as applying to “all things”. We might wish he would have chosen any phrase but this! All things covers everything! We can all bear some things, we can all believe some things, we can all hope some things, and we can all endure some things. But God calls us farther and deeper into love for Him, for one another, and for a perishing world. All means all, and love is not a partial action, it is all encompassing and applies completely to all things. That makes a pretty high bar, but it is the love God has for you and me, and the love He wants us to have with one another.

This love is not meant to be easy. Spurgeon wrote “Love does not ask to have an easy life of it: self-love makes that her aim. Love denies herself, sacrifices herself, that she may win victories for God, and hers shall be no tinsel crown.” Love is not a feeling, it is a choice. It isn’t meant to be easy, it is meant to be sacrificial. Love is deeper than any other emotion we may experience. It requires us to get over self and focus on others in a way that is beyond our normal thinking. Yet God calls us to love each other as He has loved, and continues to love us. He gave all He had for you and me. That is the kind of love we must give in all things toward others.

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