Inspirational Thought of the Day:
Love can be faked, it can be superficial, but when the chips are down, that’s when counterfeit love is exposed and real love is revealed.
Scriptures of the Day:
1 John 4:16
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:7
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
This being Valentine’s Day, I cannot resist the obvious subject of the day – love. No matter what you are going through right now or what suffering this life brings, YOU, my friend, are loved with an eternal love that causes temporary emotions to pale in comparison.
The progression of the three verses reveals a profound truth about love. The foundation of love can only come from one source – God. God IS love. This is not just a metaphor or a fluffy Valentine’s Day sentiment. He embodies the very definition of love. Those who follow God live in that love, for God is the only place real love comes from.
But what is this love? Sacrificial. Thoughtful. Others-focused. Kind. Giving. Forgiving. I could go on and on, but I could not give a better definition than what has already been given. The familiar passage in 1 Corinthians 13 is often spoken at weddings and special occasions, but the message of these Scriptures is not about a romantic love. This letter was to a church who had become so focused on gifts and deeds they forgot love – “Agape” love.
Love can be faked, it can be superficial, but when the chips are down, that’s when counterfeit love is exposed and real love is revealed. To be loved and then unloved is one of the most painful emotions we will experience on this earth. Valentine’s Day can become a sickening reminder to our weary, broken hearts when people have chosen to reject us. But God. We become let down by love because we place our hope in a love that is temporary and earthly. God invites us to come experience His never ending, never failing real love and to share it with others.
Man cannot embody perfect love all the time, but God can. When people hurt us, when nothing is going right, real “Agape” love can say, “I love you”, because God’s love is not based on our behavior, God can produce this love in us that stubbornly chooses love when hatred would be an easy option.
Paul does not use “philos” (brotherly love) or “eros” (romantic love) in the chapter below to describe this love that God has for us and that God wants us to have for one another. He uses “Agape” (Others-focused, unconditional love). This is tough for man. We are so self-centered that we think about what we can get out of a relationship. God just thinks about what He can give.
One of my children does not like it when I say “I love you” when they have disobeyed. I cannot help but say it. I will not turn my love off for them – it is not conditional on their performance. Rejection has been a common theme for much of my life. God produced a spirit of compassion in me for others because of it – to love them no matter what. But then He overwhelmed me with his kindness and provided my sweet husband who cherishes and loves me, despite my idiosyncracies.
How about you? Do you have a story about when you felt unconditionally loved? What fruit did it bear in your life? Share the love today in the comments section. Let’s end on this familiar passage and read it again for the first time. What stands out to you?
1 Corinthians 13
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Oh, Lord, thank You that You are a kind, loving God. Thank You for showing us how to love – please soften our hardened hearts and help us to love unconditionally for your glory.
Need a little more love? If you missed the February Ministry newsletter, there is some love from me to you in there. Sign up to receive my monthly newsletter and freebie of the month! Here it is. Thanks, guys! Love you!