1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV)
Love mentioned 684 times in the ESV, 442 times in KJV, 484 times in NASB and 686 times in the NIV. I would say that it is safe to assume that this is an important concept. As a matter of fact Jesus tells us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
With this much emphasis on love in God’s Word why do we find it so hard to love? We often find it difficult to love ourselves much less someone else. In order to love we must be willing to forgive, to look past the ugliness of our self and others. How was Jesus so readily able to love? Jesus knew before the disciples even opened their mouth what they were thinking and what they were going to say and still loved them. Jesus knew Peter would doubt when he walked on the water with Him but still loved him and reached out to save him. Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him yet afterward Jesus went looking for Peter, (John 21). Jesus entire mission here on this earth was to teach us about love, to teach us how to love and we ignore it.
There is an exercise that I was taught many years ago, reread 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 slowly, but this time replace the word “love” with your name. Kind of stings some does it not? Now read it again this time replace “love” with “Jesus” makes more sense that way. If we are truly seeking to be “Christ like” then we should be seeking to love unconditionally. This does not mean we should accept ones sin, or condone sin, but to love the sinner while rejecting the sin. I am sure that Jesus did not love it when Peter denied Him but still loved Peter.
Pray 1 Corinthian 13:4-8 asking God to instill in you the traits that Jesus so elegantly displayed all the way to and through the cross. Another saying that I have come to cherish, “God Loves You And So Do I!” Amen <><