By Carolyn Dale Newell
I sipped my hot tea while I listened to the song on the radio. I found it interesting that they used the word “overflowing” to describe God’s love. Perhaps it caught my attention because my washing machine had overflowed earlier. I began wondering what it would look like if believers expressed overflowing love towards others.
Jesus Christ exemplified love like no one else, but Paul gives a detailed description of love.
Please pause and read: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Notice that all the words that characterize love are action words. That is because love is an action. It is the act of taking care of someone just as you would take care of yourself. Biblical love is not an emotion. You don’t need warm fuzzy feelings to express love. It’s in your actions.
Love is patient and kind. These are also fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). Therefore, they are divinely produced within us. The Greek word for patience means “to abide under something”. This suggests that there are people who are hard to love. We must patiently bear with them, and we must do it with kindness, never losing our temper or lashing out.
Now Paul tells us some things that love is not. It is not jealous. In Christian ministry, whether it is preaching, teaching, writing, speaking or singing, there is no room for jealousy. We must not be jealous of anyone else. Someone may sell more books or CD’s. Someone may have a larger congregation or a larger following on their blog. God has called each of us to minister, and He gives us the people He wants us to minister to.
We must be grateful to God for what He gives us. Jealousy is a complaint against God.
Love does not brag, and it is not puffed up. We do not brag on ourselves, but we should brag on others. Bragging and boasting are selfish acts, but love is selfless. The Greek word translated “puffed up” means “blowing”, You know how people blow things out of proportion and they exaggerate everything. Those stories serve self, but love seeks the interests of others.
Love is not rude, nor is it easily angered. Usually the ones who are closest to us catch our worst moments. They experience our bad moods and frustrations, but that is not love. Love is gracious, and love is self-disciplined, which is another fruit of the Spirit.
Love is not resentful. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. It doesn’t hold a grudge. Love doesn’t retaliate. It forgives and forgets.
Finally, Paul tells us that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). That is the idea of bearing, not that it covers sin up, but it refuses to expose it. It believes the truth of the Bible will conquer sin. When it seems that there is no hope left, love still hopes, like a parent who still holds out hope for a lost child. That is when love will endure all things. Why does love go to these extremes? It is because love never fails!
Each of us need to examine our love: our love toward strangers, our love toward Christians, our love for our enemies, and our love for our families and our spouses. We can only love this way by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray God will fill us with this amazing love and it will overflow to everyone around us.
Carolyn Dale Newell is a Christian wife, mom, and passionate writer. After losing most of her vision, she began writing devotions about God’s grace and strength to encourage people as they go through life’s struggles. She writes for Encouragement Café and Ask God Today Ministries, as well as Garlands of Grace eMagazine. Her devotional eBook, “In The Storm,” is available for free on Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FOAAIIA and wherever eBooks are sold. She lifts up the hearts of readers on her blog at http://amountainoffaith.wordpress.com/.
You can connect with Carolyn:
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.newell.142
Devotions for You on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/devotionsforyou
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