08 Apr Love is Patiently Kind
First, however, let me tell you about something else that is better than any of them!…
1 Corinthians 13-
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.
Love is patient and kind.
I want to go back to Love.
Paul shares in 1 Corinthians 13 that Love is Patiently Kind.
We considered 3 truths out of these first few verses:
1. My Love matters more than my gifting.
2. Love is what makes my life substantial.
3. Love is my choice.
We considered what love is-
patient – “makrothumeo,” a long holding of temper
kind – to show oneself useful, mild or pleasant, (as opposed to harsh)
In 1 John 4v8, we realize that God is Love.
Paul states Love, as a reality, not just an action.
He states love as an action, not just a reality.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
jealous – an envious or contentious rival
boastful– a self display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one’s self excessively
proud– to puff up
rude– indecent, to act unbecomingly
demanding – self-seeking or self-focused
irritable – to be harsh or sharp
record keeping of wrong – to calculate into memory (ledger) an action that hurts or brings injury
excited about injustice – legal or moral wrongness
neutral on truth – it is opposite. It celebrates and rejoices in what is true.
So, I would like to look again at this passage from two lenses.
1. What does it reveal about the reality of God as Love?
2. What does it reveal about the actions of love in me?
Consider Greek culture in this time.
Mythology was laden with gods that were no different than humanity, but had supernatural power to abuse mankind.
These were the Corinthian culture’s concept of God. If we study the Mythology of that day we find stories of gods that were:
jealous and arrogant.
that did what they pleased regardless of whom it hurt.
were self absorbed.
They were irritable
The people lived in constant fear of angering these gods.
These were not even gods. The did not exist. At best, they were demons that manifested. But the belief system the people walked in gave them power.
I see a statement being made by Paul to them in this passage:
Our God is not made in this image. That is not what Love is.
Our God is Patient and Kind.
What Paul does, in a very simple way, is to challenge how they approach God.
He invites them to Encounter God as God defines Himself.
Can I encourage us to consider this same thing?
Are we allowing God to reveal Himself to us or have we already fashioned an image in our minds that controls how we relate to him?
Can I invite us to lay down the God-image you have created.
Can I invite us to let go of the angry Father image, the disappointed leader, the one who is forever disappointed in you…all of them,
and sit before the Patiently Kind King.
I would invite us to encounter Him as He reveals himself.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.
I want to do some word replacement: Love is Patient and Kind. God is love. Therefore:
GOD never gives up – to bear or cover over
GOD never loses faith – to remain in trust
GOD has hopes for you – to live full of joy and confidence despite circumstance
GOD remains committed to you – to stay under, have fortitude and perseverance
GOD lasts forever – to never quit or leave a post
Consider the revelation Paul was giving them. God is for you. He is not against you. If you have assigned to Him something different, could I invite you to ponder these truths?
It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.
The truth of childhood is that it is often riddled with fear of what we don’t understand.
Fear of the Dark
Fear of those we don’t know…
Paul encourages them to put away childish things. To be known by God and to let God define Himself for them.
There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Let love be your highest goal..
Can I restate this:
There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and GOD—and the greatest of these is GOD. Let GOD be your highest goal..
To know Him must be a journey we engage with Him being allowed to define who He is to us.
The Scriptures reveal Him.
Our Encounter reveals Him.
Together, these create a place for us to experience Him, learn from Him, and get to know Him.
He longs to be known as He is.
Are we going to be a people motivated by who He is or what we have believed about Him?
Are we going to be a people who experience who He is or be limited to what we have believed about Him?
Can we become a people who Encounter God as He defines Himself?