Love Never Fails | 1 Corinthians 13

Welcome to Real Life. What drives me? There is only one pure motivator.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. Charles Schulz

February is the month of love. No one would deny that love is real. Though, you can't touch it. Love is both noun and verb. It can be hard to define. (I tried once: What is Love?)

God is love.[1] It is the sum of his character. He is the author, creator, originator of love. I am His child. Do I take after my Father in heaven? Is my life characterized by love? Are my actions motivated by love?



1 Corinthian 13 is the chapter of love. It begins by examining motivation. After all, isn't that where every action begins? Recently, after reading it, I wrote my own paraphrase, to help me get a better grip on love.

If I fill endless blogs with my thoughts about God and Real Life, and
If I teach, mentor, parent, tweet, post, and discuss,
But I do so to be heard, to fill my need for significance, or prove I am right, and
Not because I deeply love God and people,
Then my words are a dripping faucet or a blaring car alarm.

If I boldly declare God’s message to the world, and
If I study the Scriptures and gain incredible insights into its deep mysteries,
And even if I have such incredible faith that it alters history,
But then I forget the Author of these gifts. I grow full of myself.
I stop following the way of love. It all means nothing.

If I sponsor a dozen World Vision[2] children and donate all I earn to the City Mission[3], and then
If I spend the rest of my days serving in an African mercy hospital[4],
Yet my heart holds no love for the children, the poor, or the sick,
My sacrifice does not impress God.

What does love look like? How can I recognize it?

Love doesn’t mind being inconvenienced. It waits without complaining.
Love treats everyone it meets with warmhearted respect and dignity.
Love does not grow discontent when it sees another become rich and prosper.
Nor does it brag about its own abilities, promotions, possessions, or exotic vacations.
Love is never arrogant.

Love seeks to bless others. It is not only always concerned with itself.
One needn’t tiptoe around love, for it rarely takes offense. Love is not contentious.
When love is wronged, it refuses to hold a grudge. Love is eager to forgive.
Love does not smirk when its competition fails or receives devastating news.
Nor is love entertained by perversity.
When goodness and truth win the day, love celebrates!

Love always cares about the safety, feelings, and reputation of others.
Love always relies on God.
Love always looks with joy to the future.
Love always keeps on loving. It never gives up or gives in to hatred.

Love never fails.
Lord Jesus, love is difficult at times. I am not good at it. I love so imperfectly, so conditionally.
You are love. Hold me close in your loving embrace.
Let the passion of your love consume all that is selfish, ugly, and arrogant in me.
Heal, fill, and purify my heart and soul with your love.
Love through me, Lord. Amen.


_____

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (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.



What motivates you?


[1] 1 John 4:8, 16
[2] Sponsor a child living in poverty through World Vision: www.worldvision.org 
[3] Help Cleveland's homeless through the City Mission:  www.citymission.org 
[4] Provide access to medical care for African women and children:  Koutiala Hospital
Image from:  http://www.wallpaperawesome.com/wallpapers-awesome/wallpapers-people-men-women-child-baby-awesome/wallpaper-father-and-son-at-beach.jpg 

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