Love Is Just Like Jesus
Paul knew that the advance of God's kingdom is achieved by God equipping believers with spiritual gifts, and empowering His people to use them in love. But what is love? It is a self-sacrificial inner motivation to serve others and be willing to bear the pain of rejection (1 John 4:10). Love cannot exist without a person to love and yet relationships do not always reward love. The person you love and want to help may resist or even reject your love … as they did with Jesus (Psalm 55:12-14).
In these verses Paul identifies two positive aspects of love, and seven characteristics which are never found in godly love. 'Patience' waits while the loved one is able to understand, decide and act. It respects the individual and does not force its way. It will be prepared to wait a long time, although not forever. 'Kindness' honours the person's vulnerability by giving understanding, support and appropriate provision. 'Kindness' treats weakness gently, shows mercy and gives what is not deserved. Jesus was both patient and kind, and those who have His Spirit should also demonstrate those qualities (Galatians 5:22).
But love is also painful; and naturally we resist that suffering. When somebody has something we lack, envy quickly rises. In order to prove we are better than others, our proud hearts will boast of our achievements or condemn the efforts of others (Psalm 94:4). In order to gain honour for ourselves we deface the reputations of others (Proverbs 11:12). When we lose control of a situation we will be angry and remember reasons to resent those who have offended us. None of that is love; none of that is remotely like Jesus.
Love comes from God. If you do not have much love, ask God for more (Psalm 86:5); but understand that it will bless other people at your expense. You will only do that if you love Jesus and want to be like Him. Where you see that lovelessness has taken a hold, and your proud, bitter, selfish heart is fighting for supremacy - repentance is the first step and then ask the Lord to fill you with His love. Then He can use you to help build His kingdom.
© Dr Paul Adams