The Power of God’s Love (I Corinthians 13:4-5)
I Corinthians 13:1-7, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Before Paul gets to that amazing description of love he first lets us know that without this kind of love in our lives, we are nothing. He goes on to say that although we can achieve much success in life if we miss the most important thing, we gain nothing. As we live each day we are to love God supremely and communicate His deep love to others. True love sacrifices ego for the sake of the other person and the relationship. It allows you to set yourself aside and lift up another. It takes a negative (a wrong suffered) and transforms it into a positive. It reinforces inside you the nature of the love you have for each other. Notice: Agape-love envieth not. The word has the sense to ‘burn with envy, hatred, or anger.’ Agape-love does not. Notice: Agape-love vaunteth not itself. The word has the idea of being rash or of boasting. Again, true love does the opposite. Notice: Agape-love is not puffed up. This has the idea of being inflated by pride (a big head).
1. FORGIVING LOVE (Proverbs 17:9)
Proverbs 17:9, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”
True love is love that forgives freely. It ignores a wrong done. That idea is simple, yet it is difficult to live with. Human nature seeks justification. It wants the offense acknowledged. The thought is not of covering up one’s own sin, but rather of not advertising the fault of another. When we love someone we will not spread rumors of their shortcomings. As gossip can drive a wedge between closest of friends it is love that covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8). Little offenses become big offenses only when they are allowed to smolder. However, when the power of God’s love rules our hearts they are extinguished. Because we are imperfect people we will at times both give and receive offense. When that happens we must make a choice. We can choose to hold on to the hurt nurturing it and allowing it to grow, or we can decide to forgive, in love, just as we have been forgiven. We do not have to seek vengeance for the wrongs that are done to us, we can choose to forgive. It is only because of the forgiveness that we have received from God, through His grace, that we have ability to forgive others in this way. In essence, the love of God toward us should be repeated in how we treat others.
2. FERVENT LOVE (John 15:12-13)
John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
We are commanded to love one another to the same degree Christ loved us. Whether we happen to like another or what they have done is irrelevant. We are commanded to love them as He has loved us. The highest fulfillment of love is the willingness to give one’s life for a friend (John 10:11; I John 3:16). The definition of agape love is a giving of one’s self for another. The highest fulfillment of such love is self-sacrifice. Jesus defined His friends as those who would be obedient to Him. It is more than remaining in His Word, it is obeying His Word. Obedience truly is a major key to the Christian life! Obedience to Christ forms not only the proof of our love, but also our friendship to Him. Love plays a vital role in strengthening and maintaining all of our relationships and especially those relationships within the body of Christ. Jesus spoke often of having a love for one another (John 13:34-35) and giving one’s self for another (I John 3:16). The best way to develop a good, healthy relationship with someone is to show compassion for them. Compassion means sharing the same feelings; to be sympathetic; to suffer with the other. It is the idea of suffering with someone and helping them bear their burden. Love is best demonstrated through personal sacrifice. People all around us who don’t know the Lord need us to manifest the love of Christ. We must be willing to make sacrifices to demonstrate Christ’s love.
3. FEARLESS LOVE (I John 4:19)
I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
Of our own power, we would not be able to always show God's love. Yet through the empowering of His Holy Spirit, we can show love to those who mistreat us. Not only does Christ desire for us to love others, but He desires for us to let His love flow through our lives. Romans 5:5 says, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." God is invisible, but we as His children are visible. While some may not read of God's love in His Word or see His love on Calvary, they may see it through us as believers. The only way some people may see the love of Christ is through our lives. There will be times when it will be difficult and not popular to share our faith with others. Let us not fear those who will not accept the Gospel message. May we not get weary in our service nor get spiritual lockjaw. We have become so careful not to offend others concerning eternity. The Lord wants and desires for us to be a voice. We should take advantage of every opportunity to present the Gospel to the lost. Witnessing can be one of the most difficult things to do. What if that encounter you make with another could be used to lead them to the Lord? You will never do anything that brings greater joy, both on Earth and in Heaven, than to lead someone to Jesus. Because we are Christians people will watch us. They will watch how we live and what we let affect our lives. Many times they will judge Christianity based on our lives. May we not be ashamed of the love of Christ before others. How would someone judge Christianity based on your life? Are you letting Christ's love flow through you? Or will someone never see the love of Christ because of your life? Ask Christ to give you the strength to love those around you and let His love flow through you today.
Prayer: LORD, help us to overcome the desires of our selfish nature and give ourselves completely to the power of Your love. I long for that kind of love to be what I exhibit to those around me. Thank You for setting the bar high and then helping me every moment to reach it by Your presence and power. Help me to surrender to Your ways and timing. Create in me Your kind of love, first for You then for others. Help me imitate Your love and to be that example. Remind me that love is the clearest evidence the world can see that what I claim about You is true, not because I love perfectly, but because I love authentically. I know You desire to do something in me today. I want to get out of your way so You can do that in me. In Jesus name, Amen.
Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.