[1 Corinthians 13:1-4]
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
As we looked in the last two days at 1 Corinthians 12 we saw that God's desire for His people is that they would operate like the physical body, needing each member, honoring each other, with each one operating through the Spirit where God has placed him/her. How can this happen? He whats to show us the most excellent way - His love.
Look at the ifs in the passage above. When I read those I think surely this is love, especially the last two. When I think about giving up everything to feed the poor I think that would be the ultimate act of love. But God says that act can be done without having love. And then He describes His love. As you look at the different words and what they mean, don't forget this love is something you HAVE not something you do.
Love is patient. The Greek word for patient is makrothumeo
. It means to be long suffering. If you look at the places it is used throughout the entire New Testament, it is used in relation to people. Therefore, God’s love is patient with difficult people.
Love is kind. The Greek word for kind is chresteuomai
and it means to show oneself useful. Being kind is not a passive “being nice”, but an active working to be useful for the person you are loving. Sometimes the useful thing will be telling that person something that is difficult, but something that needs to be said for his good. Are you willing to receive the useful things God does for you as His love?
God's love is not jealous. The word zeloo
is translated as jealous. It means to be hot or to boil. Jealousy is a powerful emotion that can destroy a relationship as it heats and boils. God said that His love is not jealous of you or what you have. God rejoices with you when good things happen in your life.
God's love does not brag. Perpereuomai
is the word brag in the Greek. It means to boast or brag. It is derived from the word perperos
that means vainglorious. God is more concerned with serving you than building up Himself.
God's love is not arrogant. The Greek word used here is phusioo
that means to make proud. It is from the word phuo
which means to puff, blow or swell up. Arrogance gets in the way of love. God is not overly concerned about Himself but is highly concerned about you instead.
There are more definitions to come. I pray that God uses His description of His love for you to minister to your heart throughout the day.