Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-7 gives the “virtues of love” and in so doing we see two general observations:
- The Greek forms of these words are not adjectives, (which describe something); they are all verbs, (which tell what something does)! You can only understand God’s love by what it DOES!
- Vs. 4-6 Look at these verses carefully and you will discover that love does three positive things.
- Vs. 4a Patient Love’s primary action is towards others for their benefit to, not hurt even when they are hurt.
- Vs. 4b Kind Love is always graciously useful towards others.
- Vs. 6 Honest Love is always on the side of truth; it acts graciously useful but not at the expense of truth.
Love also holds us back from acting the old way while moving us towards behaving like Christ.
- Vs. 4a “love does not envy”: Love and envy are mutually exclusive of each other you cannot be lovingly envious.
- Vs. 4b “love does not parade itself”: Love never seeks the praise or applause of others.
- Vs. 4c “is not puffed up”: If being full of hot air describes arrogance then it would be safe to say that love is self-deflated!
- Vs. 5a “does not behave rudely”: Love never wants to do anything that would cause shame.
- Vs. 5b “does not seek its own”: Literally is “disinterested in self”! “If you could just cure self-interest you would have just replanted the garden of Eden!”
- Vs. 5c “is not provoked”: Love is not aroused to anger, love guards against getting upset.
- Vs. 5d “thinks no evil”: Love keeps no record of wrongs unless it is to repay with “gracious usefulness”!
- Vs. 6a “does not rejoice in iniquity”: Love is never glad when wrong wins no matter whom it has victory over.
In verses 7 Paul leaves us with four things love continues to do every single moment of the day:
- Bears all things: The word is carries the idea that of an umbrella that shelters from the beating storm. “Love puts up an umbrella and invites others under its protection!”
- Believes all things: Love is not easily deceived or naïve but love is not cynical. It believes someone is innocent until proven guilty.
- Hopes all things: There is always optimism in love in spite of all appearances to the contrary. No person is totally hopeless as long as there is love; there is always a place to begin again.
- Endures all things: Love cannot be conquered, it never quits, never gives up on anyone. Love holds fast to those it loves and will stand against overwhelming opposition because love will not stop loving.
Simply put, “Love covers what is otherwise unbearable; believes what otherwise is unbelievable; hopes in what otherwise is hopeless and endures when everything else would give up!” Let’s pray the Holy Spirit keeps us in the love of God.