1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails…
Both the Old and New Testament tell us that loving God is the greatest commandment, but also the most incredible privilege and gift. I think we’re pretty good at realizing it is a commandment. But do we really realize the incredible gift that is extended to us and do we really, really embrace it, confess it, thank God for it and live in its powerful truth?
God tells us that we love because He first loved us, because He sent us His Son to restore us to His wholeness and full authority over the curse of sin. But do I really accept and profess that He is:
1. Patient: do I allow Him to be patient with me? Do I accept His gift of accepting me in my impatience? Do I confess my sins of impatience toward myself and others? And do I then claim the power of His patience, for myself and others, by bending each impatient thought into patience in His Name?
2. Kind: do I allow Him to be kind with me? Do I accept His gift of moving toward me in kindness? Do I confess my sins of being unkind to both myself and others before Him to be restored to wholeness in Him? And do I then claim the power of His kindness, for myself and others, by bending each unkind thought into kindness in His Name?
3. Not envious or boasting: do I accept His Truth that my worth and righteousness is complete in Christ? Do I embrace His gift of righteousness? Do I confess my sins of not believing Jesus’ sacrifice at the Cross was enough to be restored to wholeness in Him through His grace? Do I then bend each thought of unbelief in my worth and righteousness in Christ to one of belief in the Power of His Name?
4. Not prideful: do I accept His Truth that my works do not secure my rightness before Him, but that I am made perfect in my weakness through His free gift of grace? Do I confess my sins of not believing His death at the Cross was enough to save me from death to be restored to wholeness in Him through His grace? And do I then bend each thought that declares myself as having the power to secure my own righteousness to a thought that professes complete and utter dependence on Christ’s grace?
… Am I living in the authority He has given me? Am I living in the grace He is extending me? Am I embracing His Love, so that His actions of Love can live and move and have their being in me? Am I loving others clothed and moving in His Power? Am I allowing my weakness to drive me into His Power? Or am I too busy clothing myself in inadequacy and shame? Or patting myself on the back, telling myself I’m doing a “good enough” job and not looking my sins in the face?
Each and every sin clothes us in weakness. Each and every act of not loving takes us away from God’s power, healing and wholeness. But each and every confession restores us to Christ’s authority over every authority in both heaven and earth. In His Name, we are equipped with the power to break the hold of every sin, by confessing it and bending each thought to a thought and action of Love.
God is Love. We, God’s children, clothed in His righteousness, are called to step into this Love: to live and move and have our being in it, so that the world will know who Christ is. Personally, I see this as my greatest calling in life. And I want to start really living this calling, not just professing it.
Will you join me, as I spend this month of March reflecting on each characteristic of Love? Not to tell us how to love, but to ask God to show us how we can accept Christ, Love Himself, so that we may truly begin to live and move and have our being in Him?