Momentary satisfactions and instant gratifications may be exciting just like the electrifying sounds of a clashing cymbal or the grace of soothing eloquence. Yet only biblical love is of incomparable value and duration (13:1). The greatest gifts, the widest knowledge, and the deepest faith are not able to surpass the majesty and marvel of love (13:2). Without love, even the most sacrificial and selfless deeds are empty (13:3). The flowing description of love that followed shows both the splendor of Jesus himself and the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
There are 14 characteristics of love that show us this most excellent way to life our lives (12:31):
- Love suffers long – 13:4
- Love is kind – 13:4 –
- Love does not envy – 13:4
- Love is not prideful – 13:4
- Love is temperate – 13:5
- Love is not selfish – 13:5
- Love is not angered – 13:5
- Love gives the benefit of the doubt – 13:5
- Love rejoices in the truth – 13:6
- Love upholds – 13:7
- Love trusts – 13:7
- Love hopes – 13:7
- Love endures – 13:7
- Love never fails – 13:8
Loving people refuse to seek retaliation when wronged, instead choosing to show kindness and goodness. Love does not record wrongs. Love cannot express itself rudely. Love is not self-serving. Love is holy when it delights in truth. Love remains unwavering even as it faces unpleasant situations. When all else is said and done, love never comes to an end (13:13).
Everyone that follows the way of love (14:1) follows the most excellent way (12:31). You may have gifts, talents, and knowledge that aid you in this life, but the mark of love is an eternal characterization (13:8-12).
How would you characterize your life? Better yet, how would others characterize it? Ask someone who has a “front row seat” to your life and ask him or her to make some honest assessments of you. Empower them to ask tough questions and to make real insights. We all have blind spots; others can lovingly point those out to help us portray Christ-like love.
Daily Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Bible Reading Challenge: 21 Days of Love