90 Days of Prayer Day Thirty-Five
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“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.”
What commonly known as the love chapter, speaks to our motives for all the activities of life. The why behind all our intentions, is here contrasted in the light of God’s perfect intentions (verses 1-3).
The Essence of God and His Kingdom
Love is descriptive of more than just God’s motives, it is the essence of His character.
Love stood behind every thought, word, and deed in the earthly ministry of Jesus. The entire picture of love in our passage points to the powerfully transforming, eternal character of Christ. God’s entire Kingdom stands on the infinitely enduring power of Divine Love.
In fact, the entire meaning and intention of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, cannot be properly understood, without Divine Love as the foundational principle for interpretation. The context of any passage is useless to us without knowing the why, which speaks to God’s eternal character and purpose that motivates all He does.
The Greatest Commandment
Jesus places the entire Law under Love; for God, others, and ourselves. “Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). This reveals God’s intent behind the Ten Commandments as well. In the first four commandments love regulates our relationship with God, in the final six love regulates our relationships with others.
Love is The New Commandment
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) Notice how all fifteen unfailing qualities of love in our passage are relationally oriented. Paul continues by showing how love endures for all time and eternity. By walking in God’s Love, we will never intentionally do any harm to others – ever (Romans 13:8-10).
Love Fulfills the Law
Consider Galatians 5:13-14; “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love was God’s intention from the beginning, James writes; “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” James 2:8-9. (see Leviticus 19:18)
God’s Love Transform You
God’s Love is not some behavioral modification or self-improvement technique, but an actual transformation of our character done by the Holy Spirit from the inside out. Begin seeing yourself in Christ, by meditate on His character, and the passages that speak of His love for you and others. Your desires will change, and you’ll will gradually become what you continually think and see in Christ.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit as you come to understand the power Christ’s love in your life. As you continue to practice Love toward God and others His character will be progressively formed within you. Trust yourself to the infinitely enduring, unfailing power of God’s Love, Be transformed into His image, and Be Encouraged. -JSP