Verse of the Week
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
I Corinthians 13:4-8a ESV
The Love Chapter. Often read at weddings. Often the subject of sermons. Often memorized and quoted. Often lived out perfectly by humans.
One of those statements might not be as true as the others. No need to ask which one, right?
Do a little exercise with me, ok? Replace every instance of the word love in the above passage with your name and see how true each statement is.
Let me just confess that I did not ace that test. I did not make 100%. I did not make an A. If I am being honest, I made an F. How did you do?
Now, some of those statements are kinda… sorta… maybe occasionally true of me. But definitely not consistently. And definitely not all of them. Is it just me?
So now that I have firmly established that I have not conquered all in the love department, let’s move on. The spotlight of truth is making me sweat.
Now, take your name out of the passage and reinsert the appropriate word—love. Actually, the word used in the Greek is agape and according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon it is a purely Biblical and ecclesiastical word. It describes God’s love which is His very essence, His nature. This highest form of love is given to believers by the Holy Spirit.
“…hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:5 ESV
As with all things in the life of the Christian, it is not up to us to have to muster or manufacture this highest form of love. It has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit—the Comforter, whom the Father sent in Jesus’ name.
Agape love is not merely an emotion. It has been placed within us and we don’t have to feel it to believe that it is there. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can pour it out toward others regardless of what we may feel. But we must surrender our will to God and get our flesh out of the way, so that agape can flow more freely.
Once again, God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is perfected in our weakness. According to 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, we are strongest when we are weak, so that it is God at work in us. Hallelujah!
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. …I am content with weaknesses… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
Can I get an Amen?!
Live it out this week
Don’t become discouraged if you, like me, failed the test we did earlier. This is the time to surrender our stubborn flesh to the Father, so that He can pour the love He has already placed in our hearts onto those around us. Let’s all allow God to show His strength in our lives this week as He loves others through us!
Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient and Your power is perfected in our weakness. What peace there is in knowing this! Remind us daily to surrender our will to You, so that Your perfect love can spill out in all the ways You desire. We agape You, Father! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Featured image via WordArt.