February 9 I Tuesday
“Love is…” —1 Corinthians 13:4
From Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, we find that they were an absolute mess. The church was divided with people having their own little cliques. “One says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’…What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task” (1 Corinthians 3:5-6). They were also suing each other and taking one another to the secular court. Halfway in the letter, Paul revealed another issue with them: “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,…one person remains hungry and another gets drunk” (1 Corinthians 11:20-21). The Corinthians were taking communion in an unworthy manner. In fact, some have even gone as far as to say plainly that there was no resurrection from the dead, even misunderstanding the use of spiritual gifts.
The Corinthians had a lot of issues, and right at the heart of Paul’s letter, we find these words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour 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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).
Paul gave the solution to all the issues that the Corinthian church struggled with, teaching them “the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31), which is love. We can reread these verses, take out the word “love” and replace it with “Christ”: “Christ is patient, Christ is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonour others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no records of wrongs. Christ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” What a beautiful description of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Another way to read the passage is to substitute it with our own name: “______ is patient, ______ is kind. I do not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud....” Are we struggling to read through the passage? Yet, 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 is the ambition that God has for each one of us. If we want to measure how we are doing in our Christian life, reread the passage with our own name and consider how we can grow in Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for showing me what perfect love is. Grow me in Your likeness to love others as You love. Praise You!