Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Is Love At The Core?

When you think of the church, Christianity, and followers of Christ, what comes to mind? Depending on your perspective, it could be any number of pictures.

Is one of those pictures’ devotion to one another; do you picture Christians loving the world?

The miracles recorded in the Bible are awesome and truly show us the power of our Lord, but the most attractive characteristic permeating from the Bible’s pages is love. Behind all the miracles and work the Lord does is love. Behind everything the Lord does is love. It is out of his great love for us, we find the ability to have a relationship with him. God is love, and it shows in all he does.

As Christians, the Bible encourages us to imitate this same level of love.

1 Peter 4:8 encourages:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Our love should be behind everything we do. We can do some great things, but if they are not rooted in love, they really aren’t accomplishing a great deal. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says:

13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

1 Corinthians 13 goes on:

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Being shining examples of Christ’s love is how Christianity grows. If love is at the very heart of all of our actions, then our impact will be great. Jesus shows us love, so take a moment to reflect on how well you show love to others. What are some ways you could put your love into practice?

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Love Is…

Attend a wedding, and along with the decorations and beauty of love on display, you’ll probably hear this passage read, or at least, referenced.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 

This passage certainly describes the type of love a husband and wife should have for one another, but it goes farther. It truly describes the type of love Christians should strive to imitate in all of our relationships. This passage does a marvelous job describing it, and the Gospels give us explicit illustrations of how Jesus modeled it.

Jesus’ Patience

On one occasion, James and John came to Jesus desiring to be called the greatest. They wanted Jesus to promote them to places of honor. His response demonstrates his patience.

The NIV Jesus Bible remarks, “Consider the passage in the Gospel of Mark in which James and John asked Jesus to do whatever they asked of him. They boldly asked—maybe even with a hint of demand—to sit on either side of him in glory. However, rather than chiding them for such brashness, Jesus spoke to them patiently (Mk 10:35–40).”

Jesus’ Kindness

Jesus’ disciples felt Jesus was busy and would not have time to visit with some families who brought their children for Jesus to bless. Matthew records the disciples rebuking the parents and trying to send the families away, but Jesus showed them kindness. Matthew 19:13-15 says:

“13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.”

Jesus was not Proud

As he was approaching the time on the cross, Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room having a meal, but the disciples forgot to wash their feet. This was a dirty job, and it was usually reserved for the lowest servant in the home. Seeing the need, Jesus took it upon himself to wash the disciples’ feet. He was humble enough to perform this task. He did not consider himself to good to do it.

Jesus was not Easily Angered

According to the NIV Jesus Bible, “Jesus was not easily angered, either. The careful reader might immediately think of the Lord driving out the moneychangers in the temple. Clearly, these people angered the Lord. However, Jesus’ anger was not an easily triggered rage over something insignificant. Instead, love for his Father’s house consumed him (Jn 2:17).”

Jesus Delighted in the Truth

John 18:37 says, “37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

Jesus Never Gave Up and was Always Hopeful

Jesus continued following God’s path even though, for him, it became unimaginably hard. He knew the Father could raise him from the grave, so he laid his own interests aside to take up the interests of the world. He truly demonstrated love.

Jesus’ Perseverance

“Scorning the shame, he endured the cross for his people (Heb 12:2). This patient, kind, truth-rejoicing, protecting, trusting and persevering love kept no record of wrongs (1Co 13:5). Because of Jesus’ death, the amassed wrongs committed by the people of God were forgiven. The love demonstrated on the cross will forever remain unmatched (1Jn 4:10),” states the NIV Jesus Bible.

Is this the type of love you are imitating?

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Love is Hard

Did the Bible have to say this?

We watch the news, read the newspapers, and follow social media, and every day we are frustrated at all the hatred in the world. If everyone would just get along, how much better would the world be?

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who hurt you,” Jesus says in Luke 6:27-28.

I like this statement. Don’t you?

I like this statement until I realize Jesus is not just talking to everyone else. He is talking to me also. Love your enemies. Did God really have to put that in the Bible?

God put this statement in the Bible, so the answer is yes, it must be in there.

Stop and think for a moment. How much better would the world be if everyone had sacrificial love for one another? Bullies would not exist. Teamwork would increase in the workplace; backstabbing would stop. Groups with opposing views would compromise rather than sitting in their corners hating each other. The landscape would change drastically.

How to love your enemy?

Here’s how the Bible suggests living out this statement.

Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

This is the Golden Rule. If we do not want others to be rude to us, why are we rude to them. If we dislike bullying, why do we bully others. We don’t like backstabbers in our office, so why do we participate? We should treat others the way we desire to be treated.

Acting

How well do you live out the Golden Rule? If you are like me, there’s room for improvement, so set a goal to take a small step toward improvement each day. For example, set your daily goal not to be rude to a cashier no matter how you are treated in line.

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Do you have true love?

Love is more than we realize. Here are true love’s characteristics.

The couple had been married for 5 decades. He suffered from dementia, and her strength was fading, but day after day she cared for his needs. She was not compelled to care for his needs by romance, but sacrificial love compelled her.

Love is more than a deep romantic attraction to someone. While there is a place for such feelings as romance and attraction, The Bible encourages us to reach higher in love to obtain sacrificial love for one another.

It is sacrificial love which compels a wife who has been married for 50 years to care for her husband. It is sacrificial love which sends a husband married for decades to visit his wife in the nursing home every day. It is this love which allows a parent to forfeit sleep to care for an ill child. So, what are the characteristics of this love?

The Love Chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, tells us. We also find a challenge in this chapter. To fully obtain the character described in this chapter is a growing process. I know I have more growing to do. How do you measure up?

Characteristics of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says love is…

Love is patient and kind.

A man was lonely, so he decided to get a pet. He did not want to get just any pet. He wanted a unique pet, so he purchased a Centipede. The pet store put the animal in a box and the man returned to his apartment.

That evening, he decided to go out on the town, so he invited the Centipede along. The man opened the box and said, “Centipede, would you like to go out this evening?”

A couple seconds later, the man asked again, “Would you like to go out on the town tonight?”

Hearing no answer, the man thought maybe the Centipede had trouble hearing, so he shouted, “Centipede, do you want to go out tonight?”

A little voice came from the box, “I’ve already said yes! Be patient with me! I’m putting on my shoes!”

Patience can be hard. We live in a world in which everything is a web search away. We want what we want when we want it, but sacrificial love learns to be patient.

Love is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.

Love is not irritable.

“By now he had learned enough to know that when he was getting annoyed at somebody else it was usually because there was something that he himself should be doing and he wasn’t doing it,” says Lev Grossman.

Love keeps no record of being wrong.

  1. S. Lewis comments, “Everyone believes forgiveness is a grand idea until he or she has something to forgive.” Forgiveness is hard but necessary for sacrificial love.

Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

God is love.

1 John 4:8 says, “God is love,” so if God is love, here are God’s characteristics.

God is patient and kind. God is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. God is not irritable and keeps no record of being wrong. God does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. God never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How do you measure up?

1 John 4:9-12 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God but if we love each other God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us.”

How do you measure up? Put yourself in the list of characteristics above. Can you say, “I am patient and kind. I am not jealous,”

I need to grow. How did you do? Are there characteristics in which you lack?

Acting

Make a mental note of the characteristics in which you fall short. Ask the Lord to help you grow in those areas.

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