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The Joy and Perseverance of Love

1 Corinthians 13:6-7
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIVUK)

God's love has an extraordinarily joyful and enduring quality. His love is the only sort of true love which exists, enabling us to test our love against the character of God. Does God ever take any pleasure in evil? No! Neither can anybody who claims to welcome God's love. The Corinthian church tolerated evil (1 Corinthians 5:1-2): until Paul wrote to them severely, they did not understand how much they had offended the Lord.
Joy and truth are linked to love. God rejoices when truth is received and expressed, and so does anybody who has welcomed the love of God (3 John 3-4). Those people will delight in honouring whatever is true and doing whatever is right whatever the personal cost to themselves. Real joy is not the happiness of getting what we want but the deep satisfaction of knowing that God is pleased with our work and worship which flows from our love for Him.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint! Eternity is infinitely longer and God's love will continue for ever! We need to receive His love; without it we can have no confidence for the future. God's love keeps holding onto whatever is true; and that is the model for every believer. We keep protecting those we love; we think the best of them, even though we might know the worst - because that is how God loves us. Love has a true confidence that God will complete whatever He starts (Philippians 1:6): it is the reason we can always trust Him and continue loving others for His sake. Love is the only valid motivation for exercising spiritual gifts in His service. God's love makes duty a joy and clothes suffering with endurance.
Truth, joy, endurance and love are in short supply in a grasping world. If the church lacks them too, it cannot commend the Lord Jesus or His gospel. These verses are part of a helpful checklist (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) which we should apply to our own hearts. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves." It is a serious and very important challenge. Take the test: give thanks for every evidence that the love of God is flowing through you and repent where it is not – asking Him to give you more of the love you have previously spurned.

Loving Father. Thank You for loving me in my unloveliness so that I might respond to Your grace. Forgive me where I have followed the pattern of this world in grasping what I want for myself and not giving what others need for Your sake. Please fill me again with Your love so that I may be able to serve You in the church and community with integrity. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams