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Part 3 of the “What Love Is…and What Love is Not” blog series–we’re getting there. So what have we covered thus far? We’ve established who/what is most important when discussing the topic of love and relationships, which is as follows: God and our relationship with Him. (See part 1 of this blog series.) We’ve also established what love is not and/or what love does not do, according to the Scriptures (See part 2 of this blog series). Specifically, we stated the following:
Love does not envy.
Love is not arrogant.
Love is not selfish.
Love does not wrong other people.
In this blog, I will focus on what love is. The Apostle Paul, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, helps us define love in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, and below are a few of the characteristics of love that I wish to focus on.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love is greater than faith. Love is greater than hope. Love is greater than all.
Love is Patient.
In other words, love is able to tolerate a lot! Now, there are many directions I can go with this point, but in this blog, I choose to focus on love and patience, as it relates to our interactions with other people, including strangers. In a video I posted last week, I emphasized the importance of speaking up. However, notice that before I mentioned speaking up, I stated there are some things we must bear. To illustrate my point, picture this. You’re having a super busy, challenging day at work. You decide that for lunch (to help you cope with the stress of the day and to reward yourself for working so hard), you will drive to one of your favorite sandwich shops and order your favorite menu items–chicken salad sandwich with honey mustard dressing on a Kaiser roll; baked potato chips, and a chocolate chip cookie. Mmmmm…doesn’t that sound delicious? Your mouth is watering as you’re driving down the highway. In the back of your mind, you’re thinking; you know parking is very, very limited. This is significant because you’re limited on time and you need to get back to the office. So in your mind, you’re praying that there will be an empty spot waiting on you so you can run in, run out, and get back to work. You finally make it to the sandwich shop and you are happy to see an empty parking space. As you make your way to that space, out of nowhere, someone swoops in and takes (steals) it! This actually happened to me before several years ago. There were a number of ways I could have handled that situation, but I just smiled at the lady (a genuinely nice, warm smile) and kept driving. Little did I know that a few seconds later, someone would happen to pull out of a space that was right in front of (literally two steps away from) the restaurant’s door. Look at that–a parking space better than the one I had my eyes on originally.
Now I understand the aforementioned story was a single incident. However, what about those times when someone incessantly disrespects and mistreats you? Patience is imperative in situations such as these also. However, we must also understand that there are times when we must address an individual or individuals who will not seem to stop “picking on” you. FYI: You can stand up to people (and still be a Christian). Just be God-led with your approach.
Love is Kind.
Pretty obvious, right? Don’t be a mean person. We already have too many of those in the world. What did I write in the previous blog? People are looking at us, many for inspiration, others just to find fault. However, generally speaking, kindness draws people. Remember that we are servants of Christ. It should be our desire to be a light to others so that we can draw souls to Him. If others see you being rude and inconsiderate to others, that can very well discourage them. It can have a substantially negative impact.
Love is Greater than Faith. Love is Greater than Hope. Love is Greater than All.
Having faith is powerful. Having hope is powerful. However, love trumps faith and hope (See 1 Corinthians 13:13.).
May I also mention that it was love that led God to sacrifice His only begotten Son, so that we could be saved? (See John 3:16). Now, that is powerful. It was love that compelled Jesus to be ridiculed, mocked, beaten, and to die for our sins so that we would have the opportunity to gain eternal life. Again, powerful. It was love that led God to forgive us for our sins, to forget about our past, and to focus on our future.
It is in love that God corrects us if He sees us straying from the right path. Think about it. You have someone you love very much. Because you love them, you want to protect them, correct? You want to make certain they stay out of those “danger zones”. So when God sees us straying from the right path and into dangerous territory, He will do what He has to do to get us back to safety. However, it is up to us to listen to Him.
Also keep in mind that love is a fruit of the Spirit (Holy Spirit). See Galatians 5:22–23. (By the way, I remember a very wise man made certain that while teaching about the fruit of the Spirit, he emphasized to the congregation that in the Bible, it is referred to as fruit of the Spirit, not fruits of the Spirit.)
Love is not swift to assume the worst about people.
Love sees no color.
Love sees no social status.
Love sees no gender.
Love is powerful.
Love is enduring.
"Love covers a multitude of sins." (See 1 Peter 4:8.)
Love is God.
God is love.
Oh, there is so much more I can write about love, but I’m going to stop here. The final blog of this series, the love and relationships piece, will be posted next Sunday, December 3rd, 2017. So stay tuned for that.
Scriptures to read and reflect on:
1 Corinthians Chapter 13
1 Peter 4:8
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Positivity Inspires is an author, speaker, servant of the Lord, and founder of Positivity Inspires, LLC. She is the author of Words of Spiritual Encouragement and Inspiration: Volume 1, available now on Amazon. Visit her website at www.positivityinspires.com.