The Way of Love
May 12, 2021
A verse of scripture has been dancing around in the back of my mind for a while: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Profoundly simple, right? God could choose any word he wanted to describe himself, and the word he chose is love.
Love is paradoxically simple and complicated. I do not fully understand all the intricacies and dynamics of love, but I do know that in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul does a great job of giving us a peek into the heart of love. Phrase by phrase he paints a picture of what love is and what it isn’t.
Awhile back I spent time reading this passage in two different translations, just to soak a bit. I then added my personal paraphrase, which I offer to you here so that you also might reflect on love, remembering who God is and what God is like.
The Way of Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
For each line, the first phrase is the NIV, the second is the Message, and the third (in parentheses) is my application.
- Love is patient. It never gives up. (Keeps trying. Doesn’t walk away.)
- Love is kind. It cares more for others than for self. (Not me, me, me. See others.)
- Love does not envy. It doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. (I already have what I need.)
- Love does not boast. It doesn’t strut. (True humility. Seeing myself rightly.)
- Love is not proud. It doesn’t have a swelled head. (Seeing myself in light of God’s grace.)
- Love does not dishonor others. It doesn’t force itself on others. (Not pushy. Not against. Let go.)
- Love is not self-seeking. It isn’t always “me first.” (Take my turn in humility.)
- Love is not easily angered. It doesn’t fly off the handle. (Listen first, not anger first.)
- Love keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. (Drop my rocks and walk away.)
- Love does not delight in evil. It doesn’t revel when others grovel. (Empathy with others’ low points.)
- Love rejoices with the truth. It takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. (Loves what is real.)
- Love always protects. It puts up with anything. (Super long fuse.)
- Love always trusts. It trusts God always. (Focus is in the right place.)
- Love always hopes. It always looks for the best. (Creatively positive and looks for wheat among the weeds.)
- Love always perseveres. It never looks back, but keeps going to the end. (No regrets, no grudges, no fuming. In this for the long haul.)
- Which phrase do you connect with the most?
- Which phrase is the most difficult to take in?
- Which phrase gives you the most hope?
- Which phrase do you want to hold in your heart this week?
God is love. This is the great truth. How will this inform your day?
Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash